Saturday, July 07, 2007

OVERTIME BLUES...BE CAREFUL,YOU MIGHT HURT YOURSELF

We worked today at overtime rates...a good thing,it'll more than compensate for the lost day on the 4th.We did what is called a shut down,where the temporary power is turned off at a project to pull in and terminate the wire for the permanent power.
It goes like this typically...temporary power is cut off and/or removed,so you are working by flashlight/headlamp.First,a fish tape is pushed through the run of conduit from point a to point b,then a rope is attached to the fish tape which is pulled out and replaced by the rope.While this is happening the wires are rolled out along the floor,they are color coded with tape to designate phase,neutral and ground on both ends and then it is attached to the rope by making a crossed over loopy configuration of wire through a loop at the end of the rope and covered with duct tape.It is then lubricated with wire soap and the real fun begins.
A team feeds the wire from one end while another one pulls the rope from the other.
It's a coordinated effort.Emphasis on effort.Our 2 pulls today had 4 wires each,I believe were # 6 (3) and #8 (1),about the circumference of a stick of chalk and a #2 pencil,respectively.It's copper and it's heavy.Each pull was in excess of 140 feet.
The more bends/offsets/kicks you have in your pipe the harder it is to pull.
We had shitloads,it was hard.And the larger the wire the more unforgiving it is going around and through those bends etc.
And things tend to happen,and by things I mean accidents.
I was cutting the tape off of a 160 foot roll of #6 with my trusty Kershaw folding knife,blade up,when the tape suddenly gave and I stabbed myself in my right calf.I was pulling the knife hard so when the tape gave there was a more than fair amount of force being exerted.I buried at least a half inch of that blade into my leg.
It hurt...a lot.It bled...a lot.
It also put an end to my participation in the set up for this pull long enough for me to raid the first aid kit for sterile pads,gauze,tape and antiseptic wipes,go outside into the light and fix it.
By the time I got outside,I had a blood soak through my pants leg the size of Nebraska and the top of my sock was full of blood.



Nebraska...



Ouch...


I cleaned it,applied compression until the bleeding stopped and then bandaged myself up and went back to work.It's a nasty looking wound,but fuck it...we had wire to pull.
6 hours turned into 10,but we got it done.

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