The Magazine of American Municipal Power, Inc. and its Member Communities


APPA Safety Manual and Self-Rescue Devices

3 min read



November 2018

Lineworker self-rescue techniques have come a long way. Not too long ago, lineworkers used a hand line for both hurtman rescue from a pole as well as self-rescue from a bucket truck. Today, thanks to advancements in technology and safety procedures, lineworkers are provided specific equipment designed to simplify lineworker self-rescue in an emergency situation.

Electric line work continually earns a spot on the list of top 10 most dangerous jobs, underscoring the importance of fall prevention and safety. American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) and the American Public Power Association (APPA) have prioritized safety by making resources available to assist members in keeping lineworkers safe while on the job. AMP offers self-rescue and hurtman rescue safety training as part of its annual training series, specifically within the Basic Lineworker Training series. Additionally, APPA provides safety information in its regularly updated Safety Manual. In fact, AMP safety staff refer to the APPA manual as a template for AMP safety programs, trainings and events including the AMP Lineworkers Rodeo.

Buddy Cadwell (left) of Bashlin Industries assists David Overman, Jackson Center electric superintendent, in a demonstration of self-rescue from a suspended fall.

Buddy Cadwell (left) of Bashlin Industries assists David Overman, Jackson Center electric superintendent, in a demonstration of self-rescue from a suspended fall.

Lineworker Training

AMP offers the following four-part training series for lineworkers through its training program.

Lineworker Training Basic 1

The art of pole climbing and working on the pole are taught during the Lineworker Training Basic 1 course. Created for first-year apprentices, this weeklong class provides an introduction and practice to climbing skills, as well as basic electrical theory, applied mathematics, first aid, safety, transformer basics and other introductory skills. Designed to serve as a supplement to in-house training, the course includes book work and hands-on training covering the basic skills needed for entry-level line work.

Lineworker Training Basic 2

Apprentices in their second year will work to expand their knowledge and skills during Lineworker Training Basic 2. The second class in AMP’s Lineworker series, this weeklong course builds on the skills learned in Basic 1 through book work and hands-on training. Topics include:

  • Enhanced climbing skills;
  • Installation of equipment (crossarms); and
  • Underground and overhead conductors, substations, live line equipment and a further explanation of transformer basics are discussed in class.

Lineworker Training Intermediate

Move one step closer to journeyman status with the Lineworker Training Intermediate course. The third class in AMP’s Lineworker Training series, the program incorporates book work and hands-on training to help provide additional installation skills, troubleshooting and simulated energized work. Participants will have the opportunity to gain a better knowledge of metering, transformers, system protection and national standards.

Lineworker Training Advanced

Experienced lineworkers looking for a refresher course or fourth-year apprentices seeking to enhance their skills will find what they’re looking for in the Lineworker Training Advanced course. The final course in AMP’s Lineworker series, the class delves further into installation skills, simulated energized work and simulated hot stick work. The course is designed to provide an advanced knowledge of trouble investigation, crew leadership, communications and automation.

APPA Safety Manual

The APPA’s Safety Manual for an Electric Utility is the premier source for safety compliance information for utilities. APPA works with the Safety Manual Revision Task (SMRT) Force to update the manual every four to five years to reflect NESC, OSHA standards and important changes in the industry. The Safety Manual is the 16th Edition and includes amendments to federal regulations 29 CFR 1910.137 and 29 CFR 1910.269.

A recent amendment focusing on rescue and escape procedures is included in the Part 1-General Rules section:

115.6 Rescue Methods

Rescue and escape procedures shall be established that provide for the prompt rescue of a worker when working in an elevated position or in the event of a fall. These procedures shall include self-rescue techniques. Appropriate equipment shall be provided for rescue (e.g. providing the controlled descent device, means of communication, etc.)

A complete APPA Safety Manual for an Electric Utility – 16th Edition may be obtained by visiting APPA’s online Product Catalog at www.

Self-Rescue Training

Throughout the summer of 2018, AMP safety staff conducted trainings on self-rescue equipment and safety for member communities during on-site instruction and at the AMP Training Field during Lineworker Training courses. AMP members are encouraged to research all available vendors and self-rescue devices on the market and determine which device best fits the specific needs of the utility.

If you have any questions on self-rescue, or would like to have a more in-depth discussion, please contact Scott McKenzie, member safety manager, at [email protected], or a member of the safety/technical services team.