Workers endure dangerous situations to restore power
July 4, 2012 ·
With so many West Virginians still in the dark, utility workers continue to battle the heat to restore power. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OHSA, is reminding workers of how to stay safe.
Emergency and utility crews are working in scorching conditions to clean up after last week’s storms. OSHA says these workers are susceptible to heat illness and injuries.
Appalachian Power Spokesman Phil Moye says working a storm of this magnitude in the summer creates new challenges.
“You’re really going to have to keep yourself well hydrated," Moye said,"and that’s especially with line mechanics because they work with really very heavy rubber gloves and sleeves to protect them as they works with electricity."
"That becomes a situation where there’s a lot of sweating going on. There’s a lot of perspiration and so you really need to make sure that you’re hydrated even more so than just dong regular work like lawn work outside."
Crews have been out around the clock since Friday working to restore power across the state. Based on AEP’s website they have still have a ways to go.
Six counties could have power by tomorrow, but AEP expects another eight will have to wait until Saturday, while those living in Clay, Kanawha, Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, Roane and Wyoming counties could wait as long as Sunday before power is restored.
“It slows down our work a bit," Moye said, "but we have to make sure that the workers who are here helping us get power back on keep their bodies in good shape so that they can be ready to go the next day and the next day."
"This is a long effort and we want to make sure that we’re keeping people healthy throughout it."
The storm was so broad that AEP recruited workers from as far away as Texas and Mississippi.
To prevent heat illness OSHA is encouraging them to remember three words: water, rest and shade. Based on the administration’s website workers should drink water often, take breaks, and limit the time in the heat. Click here for more tips.