Electric power and cable linemen have one of the most dangerous jobs in America. They are routinely asked to work in high places with power lines that carry large amounts of electricity. On new construction projects, they are the ones building or upgrading the lines to meet codes and specifications. When bad weather hits and thousands of consumers lose power, they are also the ones out there braving the storm, so we can turn our lights back on.
It is the responsibility of power companies and other entities that employ power linemen to ensure that they are fully prepared to perform their job safely. Unfortunately, many of these companies have cut corners by not hiring adequate staff and not properly following job safety requirements. This causes them to be exposed to a wide range of hazards.
Some of the most common dangers power linemen face on the job include:
Not Using the Required Protective Equipment
Using proper safety and protective equipment is important for all types of work, but when you are working with high-voltage power lines all day, it is especially critical. Employers need to make sure that power line workers are equipped with the right type of gloves, burn-resistant clothing, and other gear that will help keep them safe out there.
Working at Dangerous Heights
As mentioned earlier, power line workers frequently have to work in high places, such as the top of a telephone or electric pole. If they do not have a stable platform when they are that high up, they become susceptible to falls that can result in serious and catastrophic injuries.
Working in Confined Areas
Not only do they have to work in dangerous altitudes, power linemen also frequently need to work in a confined space when they are putting up or repairing a portion of a line. Working in a closed-in space puts lineman at risk of hazards such as becoming trapped if there is an explosion or fire.
One of the jobs electrical linemen often do is weld together parts of the power line. This is often done in a high place or confined area. Welding accidents can cause cuts, bruises, burns, and other types of injuries.
Working in Adverse Weather Conditions
Power linemen tend to work the most hours when there are power outages because of bad weather. Since companies want to restore power as quickly as possible, they often send their workers out in very hazardous weather conditions. This makes an already dangerous job even worse.
Working Long Hours
The stress of working as a power lineman is bad enough on a full-time schedule. But when poor weather hits and there are mass outages as a result, they can end up working 60, 70, even 80 hours in a week. Working that many hours exposes linemen to a wide range of injuries and illnesses due to stress and other factors.
Compensation for Power Lineman Injuries
Electrical workers who become injured in an accident at work have several potential legal options. One of the first places to recover compensation is through workers’ compensation. Most companies are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, so an injured power lineman should be eligible for benefits. That said, the claims process can be complicated and confusing, and employers often throw up unnecessary road blocks that prevent workers from obtaining the benefits they are entitled to.
Other legal avenues for injured power line workers may include:
- Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Employer: Some employers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. In such cases, you may be able to sue them directly for a workplace injury. Some states also allow for an employee to sue an employer if their negligence deliberately caused them physical harm.
- Product Liability Claim: If there is a product that is responsible for a power lineman’s injury or death, the injured party (or their family) may be able to sue the product manufacturer, supplier, distributor, or sales person.
- Third-Party Injury Lawsuit: If an accident resulting in severe injury or wrongful death was the fault of a party other than the employer (such as a subcontractor working on site), it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party.
The Importance of Experienced Legal Counsel
Power lineman have hazardous jobs, and when they become injured, they need to make sure their rights and interests are fully protected. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter, our skilled personal injury lawyers have been standing up for working people for many years. We have in-depth experience with the complex issues involved with power lineman injury cases and other types of workplace injuries, and we fight hard to ensure that our clients are fully compensated.