Effect Measure

Some jobs I just won’t do

You might wonder what this video (hat tip Boingboing) has to do with bird flu. Nothing. Except this. If this guy and another 40% of his buddies are out sick, who’s going to do his job if the high voltage lines go down in an ice or wind storm. I’d like to think I’d help sick people. But this? Forget it.


  1. #1 M. Randolph Kruger
    May 14, 2007

    I have the privilege of watching this stuff in the So end of my pasture every springtime. They have a really cool set up with a fiberglass roller box that they attach to the cables. They roller coaster down the wire at high speed from insulator to insulator and with a goofy looking runout gauge measure the thickness of the cable and they inspect the insulators too. Then the chopper comes in and moves them to the next one. I dont know Revere, it might be fun. I’ll go if you will!

  2. #2 revere
    May 14, 2007

    I’ve done hang gliding and jumping out of an airplane wouldn’t bother me. But hanging off the side of a mountain or high tension wires — no thanks.

  3. #3 wenchacha
    May 15, 2007

    Sweet fancy Moses! I come from a long line of electricians, and the man I married joined the trade as well, but this is a little bit more excitement than he wants every day. If he wants a shock, he just goes to the gas station for a fill-up.

  4. #4 stu
    May 15, 2007

    I can’t see what I assume is a picture of a daredevil power company guy, the company NetNanny is blocking it. You’re on target with the comment on power line maintenance, the electric system will probably go down fairly quickly if too many people are out. What’s even worse is the petroleum industry, the least hiccup can run the system dry of refined products in very short order. During Katrina, we ran out of gasoline within 2 weeks of the Colonial pipeline going down. That’s our choke point IMO, just like the Germans in WW2 only more so. At least they had horse-drawn equipment and steam locomotives as a backup.

  5. #5 G in INdiana
    May 15, 2007

    We get to watch them do this near our farm as well.
    Very cool video and nice to see them up close (since I won’t go near them when they are busy).

  6. #6 marquer
    May 15, 2007

    My own response mirrors that from stu. There just is not any depth in the pool of the people who perform highly skilled infrastructural work. If that pool dries up for any reason, there will be huge second-order effects.

    As for working with high voltages? I would undertake to do it. I’ve never worked at anything over a few hundred volts, but that certainly will kill a careless person just as surely as will 500kV. Working at great heights? Sure, I could cope.

    But working off of the side of a helicopter while the rotor disk is in proximity to a bunch of cables? Yeeks. That is some genuinely dangerous stuff right there.

  7. #7 Jordan Barab
    May 15, 2007

    Speaking of jobs I wouldn’t want to do — and wondering who will do them if…

    For 16 years I ran the health and safety program for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents public employees. And throughout those 16 years, I never ceased to be amazed at the jobs people did every day, 8-10 hours a day — jobs that most people don’t even like to think about: repairing and cleaning out sewers (wading through raw sewage), staffing understaffed, underfunded mental health institutions, guarding prisoners that would just as soon kill you as eat their lunch, repairing interstate highways in the middle of the night, inches away from speeding traffic, cleaning up the bottles of urine that long-distance truck drivers throw out the trucks, taking children away from abusive parents. And then lets not forget the cops and firefighters,

    And they do it all for lousy pay and often no OSHA coverage. While we’re not thinking about them, let’s just hope we don’t have to do without them.

  8. #8 revere
    May 15, 2007

    Jordan: Good point. Like so many you made on Confined Space. We miss you.

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