What's a Journeyman Lineman?

Journeymen linemen build and maintain electrical power systems. They do all the work from the point of generation (power plants) all the way to the customer's meter. The lines may be on overhead structures (up to 300') or in underground vaults or trenches. They may be in rural and metropolitan areas. Linemen also do work on traffic signals and street lights. The work is varied and exciting and the rewards are plentiful.

Being a journeyman lineman is really a combination of jobs — part engineer, part project manager, part equipment operator and part mechanic. Your apprenticeship training program will prepare you for all aspects of this exciting and rewarding career.

Planning and initiating projects

  • Study blueprints and specifications
  • Organize tools and equipment
  • Load and unload tools at the job site
  • Establish timetables for completion of work

Establishing OSHA and Customer
Safety Requirements

  • Inspect and maintain tools and personal protective equipment
  • Develop on-site safety programs, including safety meetings and traffic control
  • Review and maintain OSHA, employer and utility safety standardsp

Setting Towers, Poles and Construction of
Other Devices

  • Transport poles or towers to the job site
  • Assemble poles or towers, if necessary
  • Dig holes and set poles or towers for proper depth and alignment
  • Install ground wires on poles and/or ground rods

Establishing Work Position for Maintaining Overhead Distribution/Transmission Lines

  • Climb poles or operate a bucket truck to reach distribution or transmission lines
  • Set up hand line for tools and install grounds and insulating devices
  • Establish a traffic control system in urban areas

Stringing New Wire or Maintaining Old Wire

  • Inspect wire for potential problems
  • Install traveling grounds, as well as truck and equipment grounds
  • Set proper sag on wire
  • Splice wire, if necessary

Installing and Maintaining Insulators

  • Inspect insulators for defects
  • Select appropriate insulator for voltage
  • Secure conductor to insulator during construction and maintenance

Using Rubber Gloving and Hot Sticking

The demand to keep the lights on in order to improve customer service is a growing trend. As this demand grows, journeyman lineman are increasingly exposed to the hazards associated with high voltage. At Missouri Valley, safety is our priority. Two common techniques used to work lines energized is by rubber gloving and/or hot sticking.

Rubber gloving is a technique of wearing rubber gloves (which are rated for thousands of volts) enabling the lineman to use his hands to complete the job, all while keeping the power on. Another technique is the use of hotsticks (manipulating insulated tools below the energized area to get the work completed).

If you are indentured, you won't be able to perform this type of work until your fourth step in the program. Journeymen linemen out on the job with you, as well as structured classroom instruction, will help you learn and perform these techniques safely and efficiently.

Installing and Maintaining Transformers and
Other Equipment

  • Select transformer based on voltage, polarity, impedance and customer demand
  • Determine correct transformer connection and proper fuse rating
  • Install transformer
  • Position over-current and over-voltage protection devices

Supervising Journeymen and Apprentices

  • Assign tasks to personnel
  • Supervise work performance and provide feedback
  • Teach apprentices new tasks through demonstration and communication

Installing, Repairing and Maintaining an Underground Electrical Distribution System

  • Install manholes and appropriate gear for present and future needs
  • Coordinate trench excavation
  • Lay, secure and reinforce conduit in the trenches
  • Install sectionalized devices to meet load interruption needs

Assembly and Erection of Substations
and Switchyards

  • Read blueprints to determine plans for substation and switchyards
  • Coordinate excavation for placement of ground grids
  • Layout trenches for conduit for the substation and lay, secure and reinforce conduit
  • Install and terminate control cable
  • Prepare concrete footings for erection of substation structures
  • Install transformer OCB's, OCR's, capacitor banks and other related equipment

Installing, Maintaining and Repairing Traffic or Train Signals and Outdoor Lighting

  • Follow blueprints that show where related equipment is to be located
  • Excavate trenches or bore for conduits that will be installed
  • Install secondary pedestals for power and traffic control cable
  • Install and terminate lighting wire/cable and traffic control wire/cable
  • Form the base for pole, including assembly of reinforcing wire
  • For traffic signals, cut sensor loops in the asphalt and place sensors in the road

Tree Trimming (when neccessary)

  • Decide how pruning will be accomplished
  • Dispose of brush and branches