When we think of individuals in the utility industry, we typically think of linemen hiking their way up our local telecommunications poles, or the people who install, repair, and maintain our electric meters, gas regulators, thermostats, safety, and flow valves, and other mechanical elements. What we may NOT immediately realize, is that professions such as these, have a 32 percent higher risk of being exposed to serious injury and fatality than many other utility industry specialists. If this isn’t a thought-provoking statistic, I don’t know what is! Let’s dive in a little deeper and find out how to identify risk factors and understand what we can do to help decrease these alarming figures.
What Kind of Risks do Utility Worker’s face?
There are very definitive risks associated with working in the utility industry. Below are a few that should need no introduction, as they are the biggest offenders when it comes to onsite utility incidents.
Working at high elevations– Slips, trips, and falls have long been one of OSHA’s top offenders in all areas of the workforce. However, utility workers face even higher odds of being injured when working above the ground due to the nature of their profession. To assist workers in preserving their lives and limbs, it is essential for employers to take an aggressive role in training technicians regularly and making sure that they are proficient in their work practices.
Aside from training, OSHA mandates that specific guidelines regarding poles, aerial lifts and restraint systems be followed precisely to negate potential threats to workers.
Extreme Weather Conditions– On one side of the spectrum there are at least 48 states in which utility workers will endure temperatures reaching or exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The other will take them into icy and frigid conditions which drop to -0 degrees and below. Besides the regular ebb and flow of the seasons, workers must still try to restore water, power, electric, gas and other essential services while under the duress of mother nature’s most powerful contenders such as hurricanes, snowstorms and flood conditions.
High Voltage Situations– Linemen face some of the most severe consequences of all as they work with live wires and equipment that is charged with thousands of volts of energy every day. Individuals in this type of work are often considered specialists and are mandated to take continuous training courses to keep current on safety standards and risks.
That is why it is especially important to make sure employees are outfitted in the most current and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Most recent OSHA regulations indicate more stringent criteria for proper care, maintenance, and useful life and disposal of PPE as well as how to properly wear PPE garments. BE AWARE!
Presco safety marking products are used in a myriad of ways within the utility industry to keep workers safe and businesses in compliance. Our detectable underground tapes are a great example of how our products are beneficial for accurately locating and preventing damage to valuable underground utility installations. It has an aluminum backing to make underground assets easy to find using a non-ferrous locator. Properly installed, this tape helps avoid catastrophically inaccurate digging when locating utilities such as electrical lines, gas pipes and communication cables.
Want to know even more? Check out our full line of products at www.presco.com, or call our customer service hotline at 1-800-527-3295.