A Totally Dangerous and Bizarre Line of Work

In electrical engineering, live-line working is the maintenance of electrical equipment, often operating at high voltage, while the equipment is energized. In the 1960s, methods were developed in the laboratory to enable field workers to come into direct contact with high voltage lines. Such methods can be applied to enable safe work at the highest transmission voltages.

Helicopter

A lineman wearing a Faraday suit can work on live, high-power lines by being transported to the lines in a helicopter. Wearing the suit, they can crawl down the wires. The strong electric field surrounding charged equipment is enough to drive a current of approximately 15 μA for each kV·m−1 through a human body. To prevent this, hot-hand workers are usually required to wear a Faraday suit. This is a set of overalls made from or woven throughout with conducting fibers. The suit is in effect a wearable Faraday cage, which equalizes the potential over the body, and ensures there is no through-tissue current. Conducting gloves, even conducting socks, are also necessary, leaving only the face uncovered.

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