Severe weather in New Jersey Thursday night left areas of the state without power. These days, power outages are more than a slight inconvenience. In addition to leaving us uncomfortable without air conditioning and fans, or dangerous to food safety, as refrigerator warm and freezers thaw, our world has grown ever more dependent on electrical devices. Electricity is essential for computers and cellphones, and those devices control much of our daily interaction with the world.
When the weather knocks out power, workers for the power utilities go to work. One of those workers survived a narrow escape last night while working on power lines in Livingston, New Jersey. The electrical accident left him badly burned by a flash, potentially generated by the arcing of power from one of the downed lines. He was taken to Newark and was in the hospital, but there was no further information as to his condition.
Linemen working on downed power face the risk of a wide variety of work related injuries, in addition to the omnipresent danger of electrocution. Trees and damaged buildings often litter their path.
Other dangers are presented by the heavy equipment they need to use, from cranes to remove trees or power poles, to chain saws and other power tools necessary to clear debris.
They frequently are working in the dark, due to the power outage, and have to navigate darkened streets, without streetlights or traffic signals, which increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents.
We hope he recovers from his injuries and we should all be thankful that there are Utility workers ready to help restore the power we all rely on every day.
Source: WABC.com, “PSE&G worker burned in New Jersey; outages continue,” September 13, 2013