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Plan your work and plan for safety

Take time to plan your work, by yourself and with others. Safety planning is an important part of any task. It takes effort to recognize, evaluate, and control hazards. If you are thinking about your work tasks or about what others think of you, it is hard to take the time to plan for safety. But, YOU MUST PLAN.

Plan to be safe.

A 40-year-old male meter technician had just completed a 7-week basic lineman training course. He worked as a meter technician during normal working hours and as a lineman during unplanned outages. One evening, he was called to repair a residential power outage. By the time he arrived at the site of the outage, he had already worked 2 hours of overtime and worked 14 straight hours the day before. At the site, a tree limb had fallen across an overhead powerline. The neutral wire in the line was severed, and the two energized 120-volt wires were disconnected. The worker removed the tree limb and climbed up a power pole to reconnect the three wires. He was wearing insulated gloves, a hard hat, and safety glasses.

He prepared the wires to be connected. While handling the wires, one of the energized wires caught the cuff of his left glove and pulled the cuff down. The conductor contacted the victim s forearm near the wrist. He was electrocuted and fell backwards. He was wearing a climbing belt, which left him hanging upside down from the pole. Paramedics arrived 5 minutes after the contact. The power company lowered his dead body 30 minutes later.

Several factors may have contributed to this incident. Below are some ways to eliminate these risk factors.

  • Ask for assistance when you are assigned tasks that cannot be safely completed alone. The task assigned to the victim could not have been done safely by only one person.

  • Do not work overtime performing hazardous tasks that are not part of your normal assignments.

  • Employees should only be given tasks that they are qualified to perform. All employees below the journeyman level should be supervised.

Planning with others is especially helpful. It allows you to coordi- nate your work and take advantage of what others know about iden- tifying and controlling hazards. The following is a list of some things to think about as you plan.

Don’t work alone.

Work with a “buddy”—Do not work alone. Both of you should be trained in CPR. Both of you must know what to do in an emergency.

Know how to shut off and de-energize circuits—You must find where circuit breakers, fuses, and switches are located. Then, the circuits that you will be working on (even low-voltage circuits) MUST BE TURNED OFF! Test the circuits before beginning work to make sure they are completely de-energized.

Test circuits to make sure they are de-energized.

Section 8

Page 59

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