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Suspended Two Stories in the Air, Wrangling 150,000 Volts

The men and women who work on Washington's power lines keep the region humming day and night, but it's no easy job and can be very dangerous.
Monday, May 12, 2008

What are the hazards of your job?

Paper cut? Stiff back from a bad chair? Scoldings by the cleaning crew for tossing half-full sodas into the "dry only" wastebasket?

Try this one: Standing in a bucket at the end of a two-story mechanical arm in a hailstorm trying to restore power and hoping -- hoping-- that 150,000 volts of electricity start to flow through the wire you've just finished wrangling.

Here's a little something written by the wife of an electrical lineman on an online forum for the trade:

"Just one mistake, and it doesn't matter whose, and the lives of the entire crew could be ended, or they could be permanently injured. Some make it fine, and they are truly blessed, but for some it is a horrible way to go."

Now complain that the copier always jams.

--Frank Ahrens

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