Power lines in a blizzard

Hazards and linework go hand in hand. If it’s not falling from a great height, suffering from burns or risking electrocution, linemen have to constantly monitor the weather to make sure they and their teammates are always safe.

Weather throws all sorts of unexpected challenges when linemen are called out on a job, but perhaps the hardest to counter through all the seasonal excesses are sub-zero temperatures, snowstorms, blizzards and bone-chilling winds.

In this blog, we will discuss how linemen can brave the perils of winter like the brave hearts they are by taking certain precautions over the next few months:

# 1: Be Attentive During Safety Tailgates

Toolbox meetings (or safety tailgates) are not an opportunity to slack off – especially during challenging weather conditions. Your lead shares all the latest information regarding safety during these informational meetings with the whole crew, and you may learn something that could one day save your life.

# 2: Always Know The Emergency Plan

You may not be familiar with the location or terrain you’ve been called out to work at. And a blinding snowstorm can only make emergency management harder if you don’t know the plan! Locate where the nearest emergency medical care facility is in advance, for example. Or how to contact Life Flight in the event of an accident or disaster.

# 3: Be Fully Prepared With Your PPE

PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) is one of your prime defenses against unpredictable work conditions. From the moment you step into the work zone and begin climbing to the time you’re back on the ground and in the safe area, your PPE – safety glasses, face shields, hard hats, safety shoes, insulating rubber gloves, fire-resistant clothing etc. – cannot come off.

# 4: Beware Of Reduced Mental Alertness

There are many reasons to fear diminished mental alertness – in yourself and in your teammates – when working at a dangerous job in rough weather conditions. Cold stress, dehydration, fatigue, hypothermia and others creep in without warning, so it is vital that you are vigilant about alertness and focus to avoid accidents, and even death.

# 5: Maintain A Well-Stocked Storm Bag

Never show up at a job in winter without a well-stocked storm bag. The most basic items in your storm bag should include:

  • Blankets
  • Change of socks, gloves and clothes (in case you get wet)
  • Small First-Aid Kit
  • Cash and a roll of quarters
  • Granola bars, jerky and water or any energy drinks
  • Prescription medication
  • An extra pair of glasses if you wear them
  • Medical insurance cards
  • Self-heating pads
  • Batteries, flash light, emergency flares
  • A fully charged back-up phone and a GPS if possible


Good luck!