One of the classic death defying performances is walking on wires suspended above the ground. It’s an undeniably classic experience for good reason. There’s few more universal fears than that of someone looking at a long fall. For some it’s a feeling experienced when proving courage and skill. But for a lineman, it’s just another day on the job.
There’s some reasons for this. For example, experience plays a big role in one’s safety. Someone braving the heights as a daredevil is only doing it on occasion. While a lineman is doing it constantly, day after day. But there’s something else to keep in mind about the two. A lineman also has a solid set of tools at his disposal. There are a few tips and tricks which can make this even more helpful though.
One of the most important is a basic understanding that one needs to always consider how lineman tools interact with the environment. Many of the basic tools work by creating solid interaction between two points. This is usually the lineman himself and a fixed point. The latter is an arbitrary spot in the environment which should be able to provide some basic stability.
The importance of remembering that comes in through a number of different areas. For example, it means that one should ensure that a lineman’s tools always have a fixed point in the environment. This in turn means that one should always be aware of the environment. It isn’t enough to look for a place to attach a hook. Instead one needs to ensure it’s actually secured. And one should always remember the root word involved with securing a line. It needs to actually be secure. This is important because if anything happens than one needs to depend on the other side of a line. This means that it needs to be able to hold one’s own weight plus that of any equipment. And not as something gradually put onto it either. If weight ends up fully secured by the line than it’s going to be sudden. It’s important to plan for that properly.
Next, the most basic tools are gloves, shoes, helmet and sturdy clothing. A harness or belt can and should be used as needed too. These items are the basic foundation of the job. They might not be as flashy as, say, a grappling hook. But these are the items on which all other tools will usually rely. A secure line is pointless if one can’t properly hold onto it. Likewise one needs to have hands protected to guard against friction.
All of a lineman’s tools should be second nature. This is part of why the foundation of his toolset should be fairly familiar. They need to be familiar in order to account for stress placed upon his mind and body in difficult situations. People will seldom be at their best if about to fall several stories to the ground. But having equipment one doesn’t need to worry about makes it something that isn’t going to be a concern in the first place. One can simply act with the tools instead of needing to think about those actions.
One of the most important lessons for using these tools safely is that it’s all about control. One needs to work to gain control of the tools. Likewise, it’s important to work hard in order to ensure that relation to those tools is second nature. This is how one eventually reaches a point where the tools will ensure safety on the job. The point of tools isn’t to be something which one uses like a chess piece. Instead it’s something which should be as natural and effortless as grabbing out with one’s own arm.