Working 50 feet above the ground, repairing high-voltage lines and replacing poles is just another day in the life of a Central Rural Electric Cooperative lineman.
During April, we honor the lineworkers who often work in dangerous and challenging situations. These brave men and women repair damaged lines and maintain critical infrastructure for our members, oftentimes during dreadful weather conditions.
For the approximately 114,000 electrical lineworkers nationwide, working around energized power lines takes years of apprenticeship and continuous safety training.
“Our linemen put in a lot of time before they’re ever exposed to a live line,” said Dewayne Drury, Central’s Director of Operations. “Our linemen’s dedication, hard work and sacrifice are what keep the public safe and the lights on for our members.”
Central linemen attend weekly safety meetings and receive crew checks to monitor safety performances. Gloves, for instance, are checked daily for any wear and tear.
“A hole the size of a pinprick in gloves can allow contact with electricity,” Drury said. “Safety checks are crucial to a lineman’s job not only for the cooperative but also the linemen’s lives.”
Overhead lines can carry up to 14,400 volts as it transports electricity from a substation to your home or business. While climbing a pole, linemen can wear up to 45 pounds of gear.
Join Central in showing our appreciation to our linemen for the work they do by using #ThankALineman on social media. Tag @MyCentralCoop, and Central will share your posts with those who light up our communities and our lives.
Levels of a Lineman
An apprentice lineman is employed at the cooperative but is training or attending lineman college. Apprentices receive quarterly reviews where their progress is assessed and training is advanced by exposure to equipment and on-the-job experience. Training typically takes four years to complete.
Full-fledged linemen have completed 8,000 hours of apprenticeship and are fully trained in their field. Linemen maintain, repair and install power lines either on the pole or underground.
Foremen are linemen who have supervisor responsibility over crews, equipment, materials and recordkeeping duties.
Beyond typical and consistent safety training, Central linemen are well-rounded with smart grid training.