This 1967 award-winning photo entitled “Kiss of Life” shows two power linemen, Randall Champion and J. D. Thompson, at the top of a utility pole.
They had been performing routine maintenance when Champion brushed one of the high voltage lines at the very top. These are the lines that can be heard “singing” with electricity. Over 4000 volts entered Champion’s body and instantly stopped his heart (an electric chair uses about 2000 volts).
His safety harness prevented a fall, and Thompson, who had been ascending below him, quickly reached him and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He was unable to perform CPR given the circumstances but continued breathing into Champion’s lungs until he felt a slight pulse, then unbuckled his harness and descended with him on his shoulder.
Thompson and another worker administered CPR on the ground and had moderately revived Champion by the time paramedics arrived.
Champion survived and lived until 2002 when he died of heart failure at the age of 64. Thompson is still living. The photograph was published in newspapers around the world.
Our job at BTS can be extremely dangerous as we have to climb ladders and poles and deal with live electricity. Always consider the risks before proceeding. Never sacrifice your safety for speed or complacency.
Use your training and skills in the use, handling, maintenance, inspection, and transportation of an extension ladder, including how to safely arrange, set, and adequately support a ladder in a range of soil conditions. Wear safety boots in good condition that meet the standards and have non-skid soles. Inspect the route that you’ll travel to bring the ladder near the pole: Is it flat and without obstacles, holes or differences in ground level? Always use your personal protection equipment, anti-fall device or a safety harness, etc.
Technicians are highly qualified, skilled people who are well aware of the risks inherent in their work.
Always use training, experience and personal protective equipment to mitigate risk!
We risk our lives, limbs and health in the workplace; taking shortcuts to increase profits for employers eventually catches up with both workers and employers.