Story Category: Public Works And Energy »
SMECO Competes in Lineman's Rodeo
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) had 13 linemen competing in equipment operations, apprentice, and journeyman events at the 10th annual Gaff ’n’ Go Lineman’s Rodeo held at the Caroline County Agricultural Fairgrounds in Ruther Glen, Virginia, on March 31, 2012.
More than 80 linemen from 13 electric utilities located in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, and South Carolina participated in events that tested their agility, skill, and safe work practices. All of the competitive events are timed to determine the winners. Events included single-person competitions and three-member team competitions.
Teams were given 18 minutes to complete the competition for replacing a failed underground service line. The line ran from a pole-mounted transformer down the utility pole, into the ground, and back up to a meter box. In this event, one lineman climbed a utility pole and disconnected the line from the transformer, while two others on the ground disconnected the meter box, removed the failed line, and fished a new line into the underground conduit and back up to the transformer. Other events included grounding of lines, climbing skills on utility poles, and replacing failed capacitors, which are devices that maintain the quality of the electric power.
In keeping with the electric cooperatives’ emphasis on safety, linemen competed in the hurt man rescue, CPR with an automated external defibrillator(AED), and the bucket truck rescue events. These particular challenges dramatize a situation in which a fellow lineman is injured atop a utility pole. Linemen must strap on a safety harness and spiked boots to climb a pole, then use a rope and pulley to lower the “injured” worker to the ground.
The Gaff ’n’ Go Rodeo showcases the skills that linemen use in their jobs to keep power flowing to customers. The competitions prioritize safety and training over speed, deducting points whenever competitors make mistakes.
SMECO linemen Jeremy Green, Daniel Hutchins, and Will Robertson placed first in the Climbing Skills Demonstration for journeyman linemen. Competition was so tight that in this event, 10 teams of linemen achieved a perfect score of 100 points. The trio placed fourth overall among the journeyman lineman teams, scoring only two points less than the leaders’ perfect score of 500 points. In the competition for changing out failed capacitors atop utility poles,
SMECO linemen Scott Gagliardi, James Hewitt, and Michael Niland came in third place. Linemen who competed in events also included Michael Brown, Tyler Compton, Tim Olinger, and Bryan Wilson.
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