Safety on Minds of Crews, Manufacturers

Equipment and tools on hand at trade show to improve safety and productivity of those working cleanup and recovery efforts

Safety on Minds of Crews, Manufacturers

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When contractors are busy at storm cleanup sights it’s tough to monitor everything around you with how chaotic the scenes can be.

“We have to keep our head on a swivel all the time,” says Joe Cameron, who works for an electric company that assists at storm cleanups in Florida and Georgia. “I don’t know how many times I’ve heard about guys being killed from live wires when they were told they were not energized.” 

That’s only one of the hazards crews face out there. There’s also the chance of falling tree limbs, getting hit by other moving vehicles, and more.

Manufacturers at The Utility Expo were highlighting several pieces of equipment aimed to help contractors keep their teams safe on job sites, especially when they were in busy situations.

“Just think about it, a utility worker could be walking along a road in the dark looking for a downed wire with a flashlight and could be looking down for it, but it could be hanging right in front of him and he’s not looking there,” says Don Dohr, a sales representative with Greenlee (Emerson). “Or the opposite, they’re looking up for a wire and it could be laying on the ground and they don't see it when it’s dark.”

Greenlee has developed a tool just for those instances and were demonstrating it and many of their other safety devices in their booth at the every-other-year trade show in Louisville, Kentucky this week. 

The V-Watch is designed to be worn around the neck or clipped to the front of a contractor or utility worker. When activated — with the red bar showing — if the person working gets within range of a live wire it will start flashing red and yellow and send off audible alerts as well.

“The audible alerts are nice and get your attention, but it’s made to flash too because if you’re out there working it could be loud with trucks and you might not hear it, but you will see it flashing on your face,” Dohr says. 

Greenlee also has similar products available for trucks where if they are near a live wire it will send visual and audible alerts to the operators. 

“So much of this safety equipment is designed based on what we’ve heard from the contractors over the years and what they’ve seen and experienced,” Dohr says. “We want them all to be safe while they are out there getting things fixed and helping others.”


The Utility Expo brought thousands of contractors out to see the latest in technology and tools related to the industry and even some catered more to those that handle just cleanup and recovery efforts. 

EZ STAK mobile workspace system in trailer
EZ STAK mobile workspace system in trailer

EZ STAK Inc., a manufacturer of mobile workspace systems for trailers, vans, pickup trucks and service body trucks, was on hand showing a few of its units that can be transported and used as mobile workspaces for contractors in areas where cleanup and recovery is needed.

There were also many skid-steer attachment companies showing off equipment that can be used to drill new holes for telephone poles, removal of poles and trees, and more.

“There is a lot of stuff here and a few of us from the company are here trying to take a look at it and see what is best for us to purchase next,” says Cameron. “We have a couple of ideas and now we just need to talk about it.”


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