Electrical power-line installers and repairers regularly appear on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of the top ten most dangerous jobs. According to the Fallen Linemen Organizationan average of 45 linemen a year lose their lives on the job in the U.S. alone. This is despite a workforce that is predominantly made up of seasoned professionals. But it looks like there may be a big shift in demographics in the near future – how this will affect safety in the industry remains to be seen.
Long-Time Utility Workers Nearing Retirement
West Penn Power stands as an excellent example of the challenge currently facing the electric utility industry. At West Penn – one of FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities – the median age of a line worker is 45. According to the company, in the next five years 30% of the utility’s distribution line workers will be eligible for retirement. And West Penn Power is not in an unusual situation – according to EUCI, over one-half (50%) of utility workers will be eligible to retire in approximately the next 5-7 years.
As West Penn spokesman Todd Meyers recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “That’s a lot of expertise, institutional knowledge and skills walking out the door.”
Read the full blog post on the Intelex Blog!