Power linemen have among the most dangerous jobs a person could do. They work at considerable heights on power lines, regularly in extreme weather. Sometimes they are out trying to repair storm-damaged power lines while the storms are ongoing. These are high voltage power lines, so a mistake or mishap can be fatal. One estimate puts the number of fatalities per 100,000 power linemen at 21.5. Too many families lose loved ones due to power line accidents.
Every year, the National Sisterhood United for Journeyman Linemen (NSUJL) holds an event to honor linemen who have lost their lives and to raise money for the families they left behind. It also raises money for injured linemen, operators, groundmen and their families.
This year’s Climbing for Lost Linemen Rodeo, the seventh annual event, was held last month in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. It attracted people from all over the country to the county fairgrounds. The 2018 event raised $83,000 from sponsors and entrance fees alone.
The founder and head of NSUJL says the annual fundraiser was started to supplement the workers’ compensation benefits that she says aren’t sufficient for families to support themselves when a breadwinner is killed or injured. She says that workers’ compensation covers only approximately 30 percent of the lineman’s income.
Besides providing financial help to families, NSUJL members assist families of fallen linemen with meals, babysitting and finding counseling. They also help injured linemen with things that make their lives a little easier while they’re healing — like recliners for workers with burned arms who have difficulty getting out of traditional chairs.
The group strives to raise awareness among the public. Many people don’t understand the risks that linemen take to bring us the electricity we take for granted.
If a loved one has been injured on the job or has been killed, it’s essential to learn about all potential sources of compensation to help you and your family. This includes workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits. You may also be able to take legal action against an employer, contractor or others whose actions or negligence contributed to the injuries.