Editor's Letter: Choosing the Correct Safety Clothing is as Important as Your Tools and Equipment

It’s important that utility workers know what to wear-and what not to wear-on the job.

Oct 1st, 2015

It’s important that utility workers know what to wear-and what not to wear-on the job. You must know what fabrics to avoid, how to avoid heat stress with flame resistant clothing when working in warm workplaces, and the importance of never wearing metal jewelry or belt buckles.

This issue of Utility Products brings you two feature articles that discuss how choosing the appropriate safety clothing can keep you safe and help reduce damage and pain after an accident. Contributing editor Paul Hull’s article, “Clothing, It’s Not Fashion-It’s Safety,” addresses what to wear when working near electricity. Many things are obvious, but you should have a checklist before every job. Some materials and accessories are attracted to electricity, Hull points out, and statistics show that it is the workers’ clothing that can cause the worst damage and pain after an accident.

And “Taking on the Heat: Appropriate Flame-resistant Attire” by Cortlandt Minnich reviews why lowering heat stress should be an important part of managing safety in a warm workplace environment. Regulating body temperature in warmer months can be a challenge in even the most normal circumstances, and situations that require flame-resistant garments can create extra obstacles because of their natural insulation properties. Minnich outlines understanding heat-stress risks in extreme heat, selecting flame-resistant garments for high-temperature environments, and keeping workers safe and comfortable.

Another great feature article is “Managing the Disruption of Distributed Energy” by Bradley Williams. “Technology is opening up new opportunities for utilities to provide higher levels of customer service and grid reliability, including greater generation diversity and individualized customer service,” Williams points out. Because of technology and policy, consumers are increasingly adopting distributed energy resources (DER). Williams discusses how the inrush from DERs means traditional inrush calculations can create built-in network inaccuracies, and, with true grid-edge visibility for the network operator, it’s possible to model and manage this more effectively by creating granular DER models down to the consumer level.

This issue also brings you a great lineup of product focus articles. In “Saving Energy Through Load Balancing and Load Scheduling,” Fluke reviews how significant energy saving opportunities can be found through load balancing when using power logging test tools. And Milwaukee Tool’s article, “Lithium-ion Creates Opportunities for a Safer, More Productive Jobsite for Linemen,” addresses the benefits of using cordless tools when working at heights. “Preventing Electric Meter Fires: Two Perspectives,” by Brooks Utility Products, outlines perspectives that will help utilities install smart meters safely. Michels’ article, “Battling Below Zero Temperatures,” takes a look at how one company handled horizontal drilling pipeline installation in brutally cold, sub-zero weather. In addition, Radha Swaminathan’s and Anuja Nakkana’s article, “Insider Threats-Managing the Next Phase of Security at Power Utilities,” discusses how insider threats are quickly evolving and what utilities can do to help mitigate this threat.

John Tabor

Associate Editor

johnt@pennwell.com

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