Upon completing this training, the employee will be able to:
- Describe the added dangers of storm restoration operations
- Identify the appropriate steps to take to avoid injury during storm restoration efforts
Working during storms when there have been many power outages can increase the level of danger already associated with the hazardous responsibilities a lineworker shoulders on a daily basis. It is important to understand the dangers associated with each job to take every necessary precaution to prevent injury.
Most utility companies have plans in place prior to a major storm occurring. Be aware of and familiar with those plans. You may even be required to perform advance preventative work to reduce the likelihood of outages and damage in some areas in preparation for a storm’s arrival.
When tasked with a restoration effort, it is important to first survey the damage that caused the outage and establish and maintain regular communication with local area work centers regarding the job.
Prior to beginning work, you must participate in a briefing identifying job hazards and the manner in which the task will be executed. During the briefing, determine the actual or maximum nominal voltage of conductors or equipment that you will be working on. You should also verify the potential arc flash energy at each specific work location.
The National Electrical Safety Code requires an arc flash hazard analysis be conducted for individuals working on or near energized lines or equipment. If the arc flash energy is greater than 2 cal/cm2, you must wear protective clothing with an effective arc rating not less than the anticipated level of arc energy.
In the event such precautions cannot be taken, make every effort to properly ground and tag equipment that is slated to be worked on. Confirm that any line clearance needed as a result of the storm is done in compliance with all state and federal regulations in addition to your company’s safety policies and procedures.
When working during a storm, wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. For example, in a snow storm, you should be wearing clothing that will prevent cold-related injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia. You must also always wear the appropriate protective work attire for the job that you are required to perform.
Storm restoration operations are likely to result in a larger work volume than normal. A tired person is more likely to make mistakes. It is crucial to not overwork yourself or perform any task when overly fatigued. You should be provided a minimum of 8 hours off-duty during each 24-hour period. Under no circumstances may you ever sleep in a truck or on the job.
One final note: Always monitor the weather! Doing so will make you more aware of potential work and any dangers created by storms and storm damage.
- What do most utility companies have prepared in advance of a major storm?
- When working on storm restoration operations, with whom should you establish and maintain regular communication?
- Prior to beginning any work on a storm restoration job, what should you participate in?
- What is the minimum amount of time you should have off-duty when working on a storm restoration effort during a 24-hour period?