Linemen Health and Safety in Winter Storms

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The recent winter storms

have brought electrical line problems all across the country.

Linemen have had their hands full with downed power lines, ice on the grid and poles as slick as marble.

From the Snowstorm Hercules to the recent Winter Storm Ion and the talk about the Polar Vortex shift causing all the icy mess out there, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself on the line.

During these times of extreme weather, here at Bevins, would like to remind our linemen heroes of some safety practices that can keep you warm as you work to bring the warmth to others.

First, wear the right clothing – and layer it well. Believe it or not, synthetic fibers are often best in extreme conditions. When working hard on the line, even in the coldest weather, sweat can form under all your layers.

Unfortunately, cotton takes forever to dry. Synthetic fibers, like polyester, wick it away from your skin before it can grow cold against you.

And don’t forget the value of layering when it comes to retaining heat. Fleece manages to keep you warm in the cold, as does wool. Even a vest filled with down makes a great layer between your skin layer and your over shell.

Second, seal in the heat. When working in hard wind – like most of the recent storms have produced lately – be sure to protect yourself with a layer with something wind and water proof like Gore-Tex or eVent to keep out elements of all kinds.

Your head and neck should be well-covered as well. Just be sure whatever your wearing around your face allows you freedom to move and see clearly.

Third, eat enough calories. This is your chance to indulge in high fat foods!

In all seriousness, watching your diet is important to overall health, but in times of extreme duress – such as working in low temperatures, high winds and unpredictable precipitation – foods high in fat give your body the fuel it needs to keep your body warm and alert.

But be smart. Choose foods like peanut butter sandwiches or eggs and toast to do the job over fried foods like french fries and potato chips.

Fourth, drink enough liquid. Bring along a thermos of something you’ll keep drinking – preferably warm and never alcohol, to keep you hydrated.

The cold and wind work to remove the moisture from the air, so you lose hydration by just breathing outside in the cold. And don’t worry that coffee will dehydrate you. The caffeine helps keep you focused, but be sure to drink water as well.

Finally, review your safety measures. Beyond caring for yourself by keeping your body warm and fed, each time you prepare to head outside to work take a moment to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead.

Look over your gear and a list of safety practices, preparations, and regulations. The reminder will be fresh in your mind when you start to get cold and tired.

As always, stay safe out there linemen.

You are heroes. Every one of you.