Working on power lines or transformers, especially after a big storm event, can be one of the more dangerous jobs within the electrical utility company. Parts of the job may also include driving and working in dangerous environmental conditions, such as heavy ice and snow or hypothermia-inducing cold, rainy conditions. Working with live electrical power lines may also be of concern if your job is to cut down overhanging trees and branches that prevent power lines from connecting residents to the power grid.
Researching the risk management of an electrical utility company can also be of importance when considering certain career paths. Knowing about the accident reporting procedures as well as published risk management reports of a company may help to compare with the accident and risk management reports published by other similar utility companies. Although it may be difficult to ascertain when researching electrical utility jobs, it's also important to consider any discrepancies between company guidelines and actual safety practices that are followed in the field by utility workers. If there is a lack of accountability between risk management guidelines and how they are implemented, this can lead to increased risk on the part of individual workers.
Depending on your job within an electric utility provider, you may be required to wear specific protective equipment. Hard hats may be required to work as a lineman or within certain parts of the main power-generating plant. Additional protective equipment may include earplugs, safety goggles, tight-fitting clothes and boots. Individuals who work with live electricity may also be required to avoid wearing rings or other pieces of jewelry.
Professional development is an important safety topic for electric utility workers due to the dynamic environment of electric utility companies, the fast-paced changes in technology and innovation and the continuous development of risk management practices. The management of each company is responsible for assuring that best practices are followed while always striving to improve in order to meet rising safety standards within the industry. Attending conferences and joining professional groups, such as RMEL, offers a variety of resources, networking opportunities and educational programs for you and your electric utility company.