A lineman workers compensation injury in Wisconsin may happen from a single traumatic accident or injury, or it can occur from repetitive job duties over time. Lineman job duties include installing and maintaining electrical power lines, telephone lines, cable, and fiber optic lines. The work done by linemen is typically outside bringing the wire, line, cable and fiber from power facilities to residential and commercial end lines.
The history of linemen began with the invention of telegraph in the 1840s. Originally strung between trees, telegraph lines quickly graduated to their own wooden poles which had to be installed in consecutive increments. The workmen who set the wooden poles and strung the lines were called ‘linemen.’ When the telephone was invented in the 1870s linemen replaced the telegraph lines. In the 1890s linemen began installing electrical lines around the country.
The electrical power line installation and maintenance was more dangerous than telegraph or telephone work because of the risk of electrocution. Like many jobs in the early industrial revolution period, lineman work was very physically risky and dangerous. Labor unions organized to represent linemen and advance laws for their safety including developing apprenticeship programs and the adopting safety standards. The lineman union movement was led by lineman Henry Miller, who in 1890 was elected president of the Electrical Wiremen and Linemen’s Union, No. 5221 of the American Federation of Labor.
Linemen work on electrically energized (live) and de-energized (dead) power lines. Linemen may perform a number of tasks associated with power lines, including installing wires or replacement of distribution equipment, fuses and capacitor banks on the poles. To get this done, linemen use ropes, knots, and lifting equipment.
The physical job description of a lineman require him or her to lift up to an over 75 to 100 lbs. on a consistent basis. A lineman must be able to continuously bend, stoop, twist, climb, crawl and squat. Linemen obviously must be able to stand and walk on a continuous basis. Most of this physical work is done at awkward angles and in difficult positions. Finally, a linemen should not be on any medication to interfere with his or her ability to carry out these job duties in a safe and professional manner. The lineman’s very physical job duties can contribute to lumber spine degeneration and deterioration. This can show up in bulging or herniated discs, hypertrophic ligamentum flavum, facet joint arthropathy and other signs of spinal degeneration. This can also occur as cervical spine degeneration as linemen do a lot of overhead work increasing pressure on the neck. A doctor must connect this by expert medical opinion.
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