The following story is an attempt to challenge our complacency to safety, and make every reader, in the safety of their own living room chair, feel the experience of making an error that causes a workplace accident. We can put ourselves in the footsteps of each of the characters in the story, because we perform these activities each and every day. Our worst fears become realized when we perform common everyday activities, but we are not trained in how they set us up to produce human errors. To many of our brothers and their families suffer daily, because what they were not trained to understand caught up to them at the worst possible time. We believe we are doing everything possible to stop accidents; however, the second half of the story will outline human limitations that produce human errors that are not included in any safety program. Each of us possess enough awareness to remain safe for an entire career, but we are not trained on how to develop our abilities for maximum safety awareness gains. As a result, we grow complacent and every other day a lineman is killed or suffers a career ending injury. We have all unwillingly been enrolled into a career long game of Russian roulette where false confidence makes us believe, “everything is going to be alright.” The reoccurring accidents across the industry proves there is something missing in our abilities to keep each other safe; however, we can stop being complacent and seeking out the training that really would keep us, “alright.” Until that time arrives, BE SAFE!
Inside this issue:
Micky Mouse Means Something Else to Kids of Linemen
By: Scotty Arnold
New Ideas in Tools & Equipment
Cruising Down the Line
By: Terry Bellew
Riders of the Line | FEATURE ARTICLE
By: Gunnar Axelson
By: Robert Padgett
Accidents From the Past
By Alan Drew, Sr. VP, Northwest Lineman College
By: Dan Flores
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Every injury has the potential to cause serious health and illness concerns, yet an electrical contact injury steps-up the chances of long term effects if not fatal. There are so many variables to producing electrical flow through the human body that it seems many workers are “lucky” when they have not been electrocuted because of contact with energized conductors. Any fatality is devastating to the family, co-workers, and an entire company. Electrical contact events are a major safety issue for workers and others exposed to the hazard of electricity.
The little known sequel to “SLIM” is on its way back
By Alan Drew
Senior Vice President of
Research and Development
Northwest Lineman College
SLIM has been an icon for the legacy of the lineman profession for many years. It it is a rare instance that a veteran lineman is not familiar with both the book and the movie. William Wister Haines, who worked as a lineman in his younger days, is responsible for creating Slim as the trade’s most legendary lineman who lives on today. In 1934, once SLIM became a best seller,Haines hung up his hooks and evolved into a very successful writer. Warner Brothers became interested in the story, as a movie and made an agreement with Haines for the rights to make a film. Haines wrote the screen play and provided technical guidance to the movie which made its debut in 1937. Both the book and the movie, which starred Henry Fonda, garnerned great reviews when released. Haines would go on to author several more books and magazine articles on line work, World War II and other themes.
What the majority of linemen are not aware of is that William Wister Haines authored another great lineman story titled HIGH TENSION in 1938.
I have worked in the electrical line for 45 years in many roles, but none more rewarding and impactful as the Director of the Fallen Linemen Organization (FLO). Since our beginning in April 2013, the electrical line industry has lost over 110 linemen. For every one lost, we estimate 3 to 4 times that number have been impacted by life altering injuries. The topic that has impacted me the most in my position at FLO has been safety. I always considered safety as of the utmost importance, but I did not take the time to research what safety really meant. Watching families suffer after they have lost a loved one really makes me think, “How can I help make a difference?” Being in a hospital room with a lineman that realizes that, while he is lucky to be alive, he will never climb a pole again. These instances have motivated me to learn more about safety and the culture of safety in our industry.