Electrical Linemen Emergency Response Training


Electrical line workers are required by OSHA to receive certain types of safety training. There is a good reason for that requirement, since electrical line work can be among the most dangerous professions. Heights, heavy equipment, and electricity all pose potential risks to workers who build and maintain electrical power lines and infrastructure.

OSHA 1910.269 is the Federal standard for Electrical Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution applications, and it provides the safety and training requirements for electrical workers. OSHA 1910.269(a)(2)(i)(B) states, “Each employee shall also be trained in and familiar with any other safety practices, including applicable emergency procedures (such as pole-top and manhole rescue), that are not specifically addressed by this section but that are related to his or her work and are necessary for his or her safety.”

The OSHA standard doesn’t specifically cover training for emergency situations, but emergency response training is crucial in hazardous fields such as electrical line work. While employees are trained to work safely to avoid hazards, accidents happen occasionally. Proper emergency response training can be the difference between life or death when electrical contact, falls, traffic accidents, or other hazards put a worker’s life in danger. So, what emergency response training do electrical workers need?

Performing a Rescue

If a worker is incapacitated, other workers must be able to assess the situation and follow the best course of action. Different situations can arise on a work site, so workers should train for diverse circumstances. One key ability workers should train for is identifying potential hazards in different work environments. Identifying potential hazards beforehand can help workers be more prepared in the event of an emergency on the job.

Another crucial part of rescuing an injured worker is to determine whether or not it is safe to attempt a rescue. Can the worker attempting the rescue be exposed to the same hazard as the victim? If the answer is yes, the hazard needs to be addressed before it creates any new victims. Safety training drills should prepare workers to make those assessments in the field.

Calling for Help

In any emergency situation, contacting first responders is a vital step. The first rule for contacting first responders is to direct a specific person to make the call rather than saying, “Someone call 911.” Instructing one specific person to make the call ensures that paramedics are contacted promptly. When it comes to training, workers should practice identifying the necessary information to provide to a dispatcher. This information includes the specific nature of the emergency, the exact location, and other information particular to the situation.

It can be useful for workers to practice dialogue with an emergency dispatcher as part of a training course. Practicing dialogue can help ensure the necessary information is communicated quickly and clearly in a real emergency, so that paramedics can arrive as quickly as possible, prepared for the emergency they are responding to.

Administering First Aid

After the victim has been rescued and paramedics have been called, workers should begin administering first aid. Workers should be trained to provide CPR, AED, and other first aid services. Many health and preparedness organizations recommend recertification for CPR/AED and first aid every two years. However, it can be helpful to review CPR/AED protocols more frequently.

During trainings, workers should be able to identify different symptoms and conditions and determine the correct response for the situation. With all training drills, the situation should be made as realistic as possible, recreating the conditions of real-life work environments. A thorough, comprehensive training program can save lives in many emergency situations. When done right, workers can rely on their training to act quickly and appropriately to any emergency they face.