PSE Storm Hazards Mitigations
When it comes to emergency power restoration after a storm hits, hazards can be elevated to extreme levels. Workers in the field having to navigate through treacherous conditions and establish safe work zones to get the power back on can be a daunting task and a very dangerous one at that. In the powerline industry there are standardized safety programs in place to protect the workers and minimizing the risks associated. To discover that a standardized safety system for storm work had not been created was a bit of a surprise and inspired us to begin the process of building one ourselves. Here is a brief introduction to our safety program which we are continually working on and evolving.
Welcome to Storm Hazards Mitigations, a tool that has been specifically designed for responders involved with the restoration efforts after a Storm. Our sole intention here is to help create a heightened sense of safety awareness and a stronger preventative knowledge base for those assisting communities in devastated areas. In every industry there are safety manuals specific to job tasks and functions that elaborate on all the hazards associated. In the Electrical industry alone, safety regulations have become so stringent that a HASP, a Health, and Safety Plan must be created for every project.
Working as a Lineman on storm events for over 13 years, I had never come across any safety tailored to the environment that exists after a storm had occurred. This was profound to me as most storms I had worked on were some of the most dangerous jobs I had ever worked as a lineman. Once I had advanced my career from running crews to running companies, and after an extensive amount of research, I discovered it really didn’t exist anywhere. Over 400 days on storm events, 5 islands in the middle of nowhere, dozens of hurricanes, and now the President of an emergency response company, I decided to create this program out of necessity to better equip and prepare all those going into the dangers.
For a Lineman, Operator, or Groundman taking a storm call is always an anticipated event. Some of the calls we take consist of simply driving a truck there and back, getting turned around because the storm wasn’t as powerful as expected. It’s a crap shoot when it comes to what the weather is going to do but when it decides to show us what its capable of it can be a dangerous situation. Your typical Line job is already full of hazards but we prepare ourselves through the training we receive and a health and safety plan designed specifically for that project. Restoring power after a weather event comes with a tremendous amount of associated risk and prevention planning is often difficult or impossible. It’s up to the workers in the field to adopt an elevated mindset of awareness and assessment skills.
A Storm call can be one of the most dangerous jobs you will ever take in your life, with extreme dangers all around you. Taking it seriously can make all the difference and will impact you and your fellow brothers and sisters for your entire career. So, whether your new to the trade or have been in the industry for 30 years, please use this booklet as a refresher on all the things that could keep you from going home today. We are truly our Brothers Keeper, but it starts with protecting ourselves by changing our minds. Let’s help ourselves and those around us by creating an environment that fosters awareness and safety.
Real safety, the kind that works…