Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day: What to know about the job and the people who do it

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Cullman Electric Cooperative linemen replace a broken power pole while assisting South Alabama Electric Cooperative in Troy, Alabama after storms in April. (Photo courtesy of the South Alabama Electric Cooperative)

CULLMAN, Ala. – When the weather is hot and humid, we here in Alabama appreciate having a home or workplace full of cool dry air to escape the heat. When the frost covers the ground, we appreciate having working heaters and stoves to make a warm meal. On nice days we can watch TV and grab a cold beverage from the fridge, and during harsh weather we eagerly anticipate the moment when the lights come back on. For all of these situations, we owe our thanks to the electrical power-line workers who put their lives and comfort on the line so that we can live comfortably. Monday, June 1 was Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day.

Cullman Electric Cooperative Manager of Communications & External Affairs Brian Lacy said the holiday honors all the hard work and sacrifice made by the workers, saying, “Every day, they’re working with something that could severely injure or kill them. It takes a lot of skill and training to do what they do, even on the nice days when it’s sunny and there’s not much wind.”

He went on to say, “When the weather’s at its worst and nobody wants to be outside, if the power goes out, then our linemen are the ones who answer the call. When all of us, the community, are in situations where we want to stay home with our families, our linemen are making the choice to leave their families in order to serve us.”

In terms of celebrations, Lacy said the Co-op usually hangs a banner at the office for the community to come by and sign; however, due to all the restrictions that have been in place recently due to COVID-19, there were no public celebrations this year. Despite this, he said the Co-op treated its linemen to an ice cream surprise when they arrived back at the office.

A WBRC FOX 6 article recognizing National Lineman Appreciation Day (April 18) announced that Alabama power-line workers restored power to approximately 312,000 people after the Easter Sunday storms. A review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census for Fatal Occupational Injuries (data as recent as 2018) showed that, based on the number of fatal injuries per 100,000 workers, power-line installation and repair was the no. 11 most dangerous job in America. The detailed list and methodology behind the rankings can be found at https://247wallst.com/special-report/2020/01/21/25-most-dangerous-jobs-in-america-3/.

Top 25 most dangerous jobs in America (based on the number of fatal injuries per 100,000 workers):

  1. Logging workers (97.6)
  2. Fishers and related fishing workers (77.4)
  3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers (58.9)
  4. Roofers (51.5)
  5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors (44.3)
  6. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers (26.0)
  7. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers (24.7)
  8. Structural iron and steel workers (23.6)
  9. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (21.0)
  10. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers (20.2)
  11. Electrical power-line installers and repairers (19.3)
  12. Grounds maintenance workers (18.6)
  13. Miscellaneous agricultural workers (18.0)
  14. Helpers, construction trades (15.8)
  15. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers (15.1)
  16. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers (13.7)
  17. Construction laborers (13.0)
  18. Maintenance and repair workers, general (12.5)
  19. Mining machine operators (11.0)
  20. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators (10.6)
  21. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists (9.5)
  22. Electricians (8.8)
  23. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers (8.5)
  24. Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers (7.6)
  25. Industrial truck and tractor operators (6.8)

 

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Heather Mann

heather@cullmantribune.com