April 14, 2023
National Lineman Appreciation Day is observed annually on April 18. There’s a reason these utility professionals have their own day of recognition: Without them, our industry simply couldn’t exist.
Starkville Utilities currently employs five linemen and eight apprentice linemen who maintain the city’s electrical transmission and distribution system, which consists of approximately 190 miles of distribution lines along with a large network of substations and electrical equipment.
Our excellent reliability rate can be credited in large part to the work linemen do every day to keep the electrical system in top condition and provide customers with safe, efficient and affordable power.
It takes a lot of training, experience and continuous requalification to do what they do. The apprenticeship phase involves a minimum of 7,000 hours of on-the-job training along with classroom instruction, labs and testing. It’s a process that can take up to six years.
When considering the requirements of the profession, it’s easy to understand why training is such a serious focus area. Those who choose to be line workers do so with the knowledge that it’s one of the most dangerous professions in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s why safety is the foundation of everything they do. They begin each workday by reviewing their job assignments to make sure they’re aware of potential hazards and are prepared to safely complete every task. Experienced employees act as mentors, providing on-the-job training and guidance for apprentices and continuously reinforcing safe work practices.
If you spend time with a crew, you’ll quickly pick up on the fact that they’re perfectionists who want to do the job right the first time. That means no rushing and no shortcuts. That mindset applies to storm response, too. While their goal is promptly restoring power for customers, they are methodical about following every step safely and correctly and watching out for their fellow linemen.
For any utility company, building a safety-focused culture of excellence begins with linemen. Today and every day, we are thankful for the service, commitment and leadership of Starkville Utilities’ line professionals.