It’s this part of the year when we all appreciate cool, conditioned air the most. I know that I do.
And without electricity, air conditioning isn’t possible, which makes me appreciate our Lynches River Electric Cooperative crews who work hard to keep our system reliable and in good shape.
I appreciate these dedicated linemen, right-of-way crews and many other operations personnel even more when I think about them working in this kind of heat, building new services, maintaining our lines, and improving our system.
Now if it were me or you, working in our yard, we’d dress for the heat—perhaps in a cotton t-shirt and lightweight cap. But for LREC lineworkers, breathable fabrics and short sleeved shirts are not always an option.
Regardless of the temperatures and humidity they are subjected to, our crews are required to wear special personal protective equipment (PPE) while working around energized lines. The not-so-seasonal clothing includes fire-retardant long-sleeved shirts and pants, steel-toed boots, rubber gloves, rubber sleeves covering their arms to their shoulders, hard hats and safety glasses.
PPE may be designed to protect our lineworkers against hazards of electrical work, but it can also expose them to heat stress and reduce the body’s ability to evaporate sweat. Unfortunately, if the materials were breathable, they wouldn’t be fire retardant or adequately protective.
Safety is our top priority, so we make sure all our crews take care of themselves in the field. They are encouraged to consume plenty of water and electrolyte drinks. When possible, our crews begin projects early in the day to avoid the extreme heat of our summer afternoons.
Of course, they can’t always choose what time of day they’ll up a pole or in a bucket. When there is an outage, our crews will work in whatever conditions the day brings to make sure our members have power.
They’ll be sweating so you don’t have to.