Successful Linemen Stay Safe at All Times

Too many linemen have had a coworker hurt or killed on the job. Despite safety regulations to help eliminate injuries and fatalities, accidents continue to happen-especially when safety procedures are not 100 percent followed.

Too many linemen have had a coworker hurt or killed on the job. Despite safety regulations to help eliminate injuries and fatalities, accidents continue to happen-especially when safety procedures are not 100 percent followed. In this month's feature article by Paul Hull, "Success Depends on Safety," how linemen's jobs originated and where we have come are presented. When the telegraph became popular in 1840, workers realized it was easier to string telegraph lines on poles rather than tree branches-and the workers became know as linemen. With the introduction of electricity at the end of the 19th century, the job became considerably more dangerous, but, by the late 1930s, safety improved because of training programs. While a lineman's job is certainly safer now, there are still dangers. Safety training and implementation are imperative for the successful lineman. Hull outlines the importance of the appropriate tools, clothing and equipment-and, of course, avoiding contact with energized lines. And, as Hull Points out, we only hear the negative news about customers without power after a storm; it is our linemen who many times work in dangerous situations to heroically work long and hard to provide power restoration.

Linda Jackman's article, "Information Mobilizes in the Smart Metering Era," presents the importance and benefits of a full mobile workforce management (MWM) solution with smart meter deployments. Jackman outlines how the MWM-which offers increased efficiency and accuracy-allows utilities to equip field technicians with devices that can access multiple high-speed wireless networks, handle an entire service territory as a single unit, re-optimize resources in real time when changes occur, reduce the time needed for technicians to correctly complete tasks, and interface with technicians' tools and reports to compare technician decisions with a standard set of task-completion rules and alternatives.

Another feature article, "Communications Solution for a Wide Range of Environments," discusses how Industrial Light & Power (ILP), a commercial electrical contractor in Las Vegas and surrounding areas, overcame communication challenges caused by obstructions, high-voltage interference and background noise. The solution was found in Motorola's MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus digital two-way radios, which provide increased capacity, integrated data applications, voice quality and extended battery performance. Keeping ILP's communication lines open resulted in a 50 percent increase in productivity and saved money.

In "Maximizing Efficiency and Return on Investment as an Early Adopter of Field Force Automation" by Mary Brittain-White, the benefits of field force automation are outlined. Technicians, management and schedulers all benefit, but field technicians are primarily the ones who complete timesheets, review job-specific maps and diagrams, must be compliant in safety checks and more. Brittain-White discusses Retriever Communications' mobile application solution, which allows inspectors more time in the field and reduces paperwork.

This issue of Utility Products also brings you product focus articles to help extend underground wiring, meet Federal Aviation Administration light monitoring requirements on transmission and distribution lines, ensure your utility workers are properly outfitted for cold weather, train unqualified personnel about arc flash dangers, protect crews from lightning, properly install machine-to-machine antennas, and efficiently manage your assets.

The upcoming Utility Products Conference & Expo (UPCE) will take place Jan. 29-31, 2013, in San Diego. Bringing you a wide range of products and services for the utility industry, you won't want to miss it. For more UPCE 2013 information or to register, please visit www.utilityproductsexpo.com.

John Tabor
Associate Editor
johnt@pennwell.com

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