High voltage tools for linemen

Written by mitchell brock
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High voltage tools for linemen
High-voltage lineman install and repair the high-voltage electrical grid. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

High-voltage lineman work on power lines that carry thousands of volts of electricity. Because of the hazards of this job, the lineman carries specialised tools to perform the necessary installations and repairs. Many of the lineman's tools are made to withstand a high-voltage environment.

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Personal Protective Equipment

One of the most important tools a high voltage lineman can carry with him is personal protective equipment (PPE). Items such as insulated gloves, sleeves, blankets, covers and matting are necessary to prevent the lineman from inadvertently making contact with a high-voltage wire. Hard hats that absorb high-voltage electricity and goggles are valuable PPE. The hard hat must be the highest voltage rated hat on the market so if contact does occur with a high-voltage line, the hard hat will absorb most of the electricity. Goggles are needed to protect the lineman's eyes from sparks.

Hot Line Tools

There are times when high-voltage lineman must touch conductive components of the grid. When these times occur, a lineman uses a hot line tool called a "hot stick." Most of these tools are constructed from fibreglass with high-voltage insulation wrapped around the grip of the stick. The tools adjust to different lengths with a telescoping design. The hot stick allows linemen to manipulate or handle live high-voltage wires.

Climbing Equipment

Every high-voltage lineman must have pole-climbing tools as part of her toolbox. Climbers and pole straps are essential tools if a lineman plans on climbing a wooden pole. The climbers are attached to the foot, ankle and calf of each leg. The pole strap wraps around the pole and connects to a climbing belt that a lineman wears around her waist. The climbers have points or drivers on the bottom of the leggings that can jam into the wooden pole and hold the lineman in place as she takes another step up with the other climber. The pole strap slides up the outside of the pole as the lineman climbs, holding the lineman in place when she leans back and tightens the strap around the pole.

Hand Tools

A majority of the tools carried by a high-voltage lineman are hand tools. Wrenches, sockets, ratchets, screwdrivers, hammers and pliers are all part of a lineman's tool pouch carried around his waist. All of these tools use high-voltage insulating grips so the lineman can be protected from electrical burns and shock if the tool comes into contact with a live high-voltage line.

Testing Equipment

Every high-voltage lineman carries multiple testing meters to test the voltage, ohms, amps and resistance of the electrical lines. Some meters test multiple items, like the multimeter tester; other testing equipment only tests one item, such as a resistance clamp. All the testing equipment has been specifically designed to test high-voltage components, such as live wires, capacitors and transistors.

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