It was a hot, humid summer’s day, the line crew, comprised of two veteran linemen, was assigned to a straight line secondary change over.
t was a simple job, 4 # 2 solid secondary and two house services. It was old construction (the secondary cables bare); network supply (not radial); one of the services (rubber covered 1/0 AL triplex with steel center neutral) was 90 foot long, running across the main street.
The location was noisy as the sounds of the truck’s diesel engine and passing cars hung in the thick soggy air. The ground man tended to his tasks which included setting up the new material handler that they were assigned to, as the other framed the pole.
Due to the position of the new pole, the lineman decided to lay the cables, in pigs (line hose), in the new rack, transfer over the attachments, top out the old pole and then tie everything in. As the heat of the day increased, this piece of cake job was going according to plan. The lineman noticed that one of the phases had inched its’ way out of the pig in the rack, as he began the job of removing the slack from the old 1/0 service. No big deal, he would correct that when he went around to that side of the pole to tie in the secondary.
His cottons were soaked as he took off his gloves to wipe his brow; he reached for the 3/8” personal blocks, which were hanging from an eye bolt attached to the rack.
He screamed that inaudible scream that only you can hear, as the amperage surged through him. He could see the man on the ground, unaware. He looked at his hands, clenching the block, unable to let go. He saw the phase, peeking out of the pig, touching the rack. The next few seconds seemed like an eternity and then… his grasp released, he was shaken but alive.
Terry Bellew - Lineman