Union priority: Protest suspended to observe safety day

19 linemen lost their lives in work-related accidents last year

Amel Ghani June 17, 2015
19 linemen lost their lives in work-related accidents last year. PHOTO: EXPRESS


All Pakistan Hydroelectric Workers’ Union general secretary Khurshid Ahmed said on Wednesday that the Lahore Electric Supply Company had been extremely successful in reducing line losses and raising recovery standards.

Ahmed was addressing LESCO workers as they observed a safety day to raise awareness regarding challenges confronting linemen. He said the union had suspended its anti-privatisation protest campaign for one week in a bid to make Lesco workers cognisant of safety mechanisms. Ahmed urged the Lesco management to ensure the provision of safety equipment in accordance with the Electricity Act.

The union’s Okara Circle chairman Rana Shahid said it had suspended its protest campaign to come together with the management and discuss the issue with workers due to its pressing nature. Shahid also shed light on the paucity of Bucket Mountain Vehicles for workers on the occasion. He stressed their importance for workers’ safety saying they ensured that workers remained stable and did not sustain serious injuries if they lost their balance. Shahid also spoke about corruption in the ranks of those charged with managing the sector. He said 1,000 lawyers’ chambers in Okara had had their meters removed. Shahid said the media also used its influence to avoid paying bills. He said officials had failed to taken any action on this account despite repeated complaints.

All Pakistan Hydroelectric Workers’ Union regional chairman Rana Abdul Shakoor exhorted linemen to ensure that wires were earthed before they started working. He said 19 linemen had lost their lives in work-related accidents last year. Shakoor said seven more had perished on this account since January this year. He called on linemen to desist from working if they were not provided adequate safety gear.

“Do not put yourself in harm’s way,” Shakoor counselled them. The union’s First Circle chairman Chaudhry Maqsood said linemen were not even provided with protective gloves, a basic safety requirement.

LESCO Chief Engineer Mujahid Islam Billa admitted that adequate safety equipment was not provided to linemen. “This is not at par with international standards,” he said. Billa said a tender regarding the procurement of 25 new BMVs had been floated. He said a committee had been constituted to evaluate safety equipment and formulate recommendations. Billa said linemen were being represented by union leaders in the committee.

The chief engineer urged linemen to be extremely cautious when they were working on electricity wires.

“I have observed that many linemen, especially the younger ones, tend to be overconfident. This puts them in harm’s way,” he said.

Deceased linemen hailing from the region were also remembered on the occasion in the presence of their family members.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015. 


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