Get the Lights Back on Quickly and Safely

For decades, linemen have had to change fuses on overhead transformers and line fuse cutouts.

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For decades, linemen have had to change fuses on overhead transformers and line fuse cutouts. This common practice is performed thousands of times each day across America and around the world.

Raising a swinging line fuse or cutout barrel is truly an art when it comes to line work. The goal is always to “get the lights back on.” The art involved is raising a fuse barrel that weighs two to three pounds 35 feet into the air, landing the fuse barrel into the cutout, and then successfully closing the fuse to “get the lights back on.” Jim Bonnell, operations supervisor for Midwest Energy, said, “ It is really difficult for linemen to deal with landing the fuse barrel when you’re experiencing windy conditions. Any tool that minimizes exposure to inadvertent electrical contact is an asset to the lineman.”

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The “exclusive” design by Hastings allows for either 100Amp or 200Amp fuse barrels to be lifted.
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This feat is often coupled with other complications for the lineman. These hindrances can include blowing wind, a four-foot deep side ditch at the worksite, problematic pre-dawn timing, and an unavailable bucket truck.

Power companies across the country have had reports of the fuse barrel disengaging itself from the disconnect hook or prong and dropping to the ground. Once the fuse barrel falls, the lineman is then at-risk to a falling object. Should the fuse barrel come tumbling down, even hard hats and safety glasses may not provide adequate protection.

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The Fuse-Cup from Hastings is manufactured of fiberglass-reinforced nylon. The fiberglass material eliminates the potential hazard of flashover when removing or installing fuse barrels.
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According to OSHA in its Proposed Rule 70:34821-34980 documentation, “Employees performing work involving electric power generation, transmission, and distribution are exposed to a variety of significant hazards, such as fall, electric shock, and burn hazards, that can and do cause serious injury and death. OSHA estimates that, on average, 444 serious injuries and 74 fatalities occur annually among these workers.”

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For greater strength during the closing process, the disconnect prong is made of aluminum that is sealed and covered with the fiberglass reinforced nylon.
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Hastings Fiberglass has developed a new product to address these common issues in the field. The Fuse-Cup allows the lineman to naturally overcome occurring complications in the field. For example, the Fuse-Cup allows the lineman to easily capture the fuse barrel for quick and easy fuse removal and installation during high wind conditions. The tool keeps the fuse from swinging in the wind. If the lineman is in a rural area navigating a ditch or river, the Fuse-Cup keeps the fuse from falling into the ditch or river. On those late nights or early mornings when the bucket truck is not available, the Fuse-Cup offers the ability to extend up to 40 feet in the air when used with the Hastings Tell-O-Pole, eliminating the need for the bucket truck. The high visibility yellow makes it easy for the lineman to get a good visual on the fuse barrel in low light or night conditions. Hastings developed its Fuse-Cup with fiberglass-reinforced nylon to eliminate the potential hazard of flashover when moving or installing fuse barrels. Dave Baum, president of Hastings, believes that “utilizing a product like the Hastings Fuse-Cup can significantly reduce accidents occurring while changing out fuses on overhead transformers and line fuse cutouts. The introduction of the Fuse-Cup just seemed like a natural extension to our current line of safety products.”

The team at Hastings utilizes the latest resources in technology and its extensive experience to support linemen in the art of getting the lights back on.

About the Author: Dick Cole is national sales manager at Hastings.

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