Bonding mats are critical for utility employees because they can help prevent electrocutions when working near charged utility lines. They are important not only for electrical lineman safety, but also for water and gas utility crews that are excavating near underground electrical wires. They clearly fall into the “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” category!
Ins and Outs of Bonding Mats
Bonding mats do not conduct electricity, so they provide a safe zone that protects employees from getting zapped, even when water cuts through an energized power cable. They are available in a variety of sizes, some of which are customizable, and can be combined with non-conductive boots that act as a secondary protective measure.
Of course, bonding mats are not a cure for poor employee practices. Employees must also:
- Understand and be properly trained on the dangers and protocols of working near underground infrastructure
- Attempt to deenergize electrical cables (not always possible)
- Read up on the National Safety Council’s best practices
- Learn how to properly clean and maintain the mats
In the final analysis, anything that enhances safety is critical for utility workers. This includes protective eyewear, hand protection, proper work boots, other wearables, and yes, even bonding mats. For more information on how these mats function, as well as some maintenance and cleaning details, click here.