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A Verizon worker was suspended for three weeks without pay for saving a cat who became stuck at the top of a utility pole in Philadelphia.

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I find the company's response interesting in that it says that the equipment isn't intended to be used around electrical cabling. I know that electrical cables are typically installed at the top of poles and everything else is below. But are telecom buckets not insulated enough to protect a worker in the event that it comes in contact with power lines?

Also, is the unpaid suspension really justified? ponder


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If the boom truck was not insulated for being around poles I sure wouldn't be in one.

If I was in his place I would have done the same thing (rescued the cat)


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I can only speak for how we had to work around power when I was using a bucket truck (this was many years ago). Just every day phone stuff I was by myself. Whenever I was required to work within the proximity of power it require a helper on the ground. The bucket truck had dual controls the ground controls had an override of the bucket controls for safety. The person on the ground stood on a thick rubber mat, he had on all the safety gear for working around power and he stayed there until I was done. I have no idea what todays rules are. In the picture of the tech rescuing the cat he was working above a street light fixture, so what I just stated would have applied when I was doing it. Having given you that information, I would have done the same thing he did. Verizon is now fighting a PR campaign for their suspension.


EDIT: Not all bucket trucks are rated for working around power.

Last edited by justbill; 03/26/19 04:00 PM.

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The problem is that it's not a bucket truck. It's a lift basket used for pole construction work. The boom and basket are not insulated at all. He broke the rules regarding working above power, regardless of the voltage. Had there been a mishap, the entire vehicle could have become energized and a passerby could have been shocked or electrocuted. He also doesn't appear to have the proper PPE for working above power. Rules are rules and he broke them. Verizon could (and probably will be) fined by OSHA for this blatant safety violation. He's clearly not trained for this situation. He's lucky he didn't get fired in my opinion. There were other things he could have done for the cat, specifically calling animal control or even the power utility.


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the man made an emotional decision. he was being a nice guy. he was wrong wrong wrong. i love animals but don't risk your life or your family's welfare or income doing the likes. safety rules are made to keep a person alive and healthy. insulated equipment or not, it was bad idea.


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I understand that cat skeletons on top of utility poles are a real problem in that area.


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