Thanking Our Line Workers on Lineman Appreciation Day
March 24, 2023
When we wake up in the morning, usually to a phone alarm, we flip on the lights, brew a cup of coffee and check the news; we rarely think about the “invisible worker” behind these things: electricity. It is used so much in our lives that it is usually taken for granted. As we go through our day on our phones and computers, using all kinds of technology to accomplish our work tasks, the truth is that most of that technology relies on electricity.
In the future, our society will rely even more on electricity. In the U.S. today, the power system is made up of 7,300+ power plants, nearly 160,000 miles of high-voltage power lines and millions of low-voltage lines and distribution transformers.1 You may hear in the news that more and more of the cars we drive will transition to electric vehicles, so we will eventually need to plug in our car at night. Global electricity demand will continue to grow over the next 10 years due to more electric motors, heat pumps and hydrogen.2
The backbone of our electrical grid
The “invisible” work of electricity becomes visible when weather events, natural disasters and other accidents cause the lights to go out. So who comes to fix it? If we have a fire, we call the fire department. If we are in an accident, we are looking for EMTs. If we are hurt or in danger, we call the police. If it is something bad, we call the military to protect the country. And without power, we call the power company. These front-line workers go out in the elements to bring our lives back to normal. That job is often over-worked and under-appreciated when things are normal; when disaster strikes, we want them there immediately and the lights back on now. Line workers are the backbone of the electrical infrastructure.
April 18 is National Lineman Appreciation Day. During this day, take the time to express your appreciation to those who work to keep the lights on and our daily lives running. Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. alone work at electric utilities and more than 120,000 are line workers, according to Lineman Central.3
I come from a family of line workers and am proud to have followed in my family’s footsteps. I now work to provide the best safety equipment for line workers to use. I remember not seeing my dad for a couple of weeks because of storms, or he would be gone overnight due to outages. I also know the adrenaline rush of working a storm, and the best feeling ever is when you fix things and restore power. Seeing lights come on and people relieved to have normalcy brought back to their lives is invaluable.
To those living the high life of line work, thank you for what you do. Thank you for the hard work in the worst conditions that helps keep the electrons flowing for us to use. Your work is truly appreciated.
About the Author: Russ Owen, CUSP, served in the U.S. Military for 21 years, 13 of which were spent in the U.S. Army doing power generation and distribution, and 6 years in power distribution safety. Now he is a senior technical lead at Honeywell Salisbury and serves on ASTM International committees (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials). His experience as a lineman gives him first-hand insight into how to make our products both high-quality and user friendly.