Training Spotlight: Daniel Mekkes, Corporate Training Specialist

When it comes to safety and using power equipment around utility lines, we don't just reinforce this message over and over and over with our own associates. We also make sure our partners and their crew members are aware of best safety practices as well. So we offer safety training and presentations to utilities, highway departments, arborists, and anyone who has to trim trees and work around power lines.

Recently, Daniel Mekkes, Townsend's corporate training specialist, gave a chainsaw safety presentation to the Boone REMC group here in Indiana. Daniel has done several talks for different REMCs around the country, so he was asked to visit with the Boone linemen and show them how to  safely operate a chainsaw and to remove trees and branches.

"About 80 percent of the time, the problem linemen have to deal with are trees and branches on a line," said Daniel. "There's a lot of pressure on that line, but it's strung as tight as piano wire, and when that pressure is removed, it flies back like a jet."

Daniel said it's like firing a bow: when you release the string, it snaps back into its original position. And if a lineman isn't careful, they can be seriously injured or killed when they remove a limb or fallen tree from a power line. So Daniel showed them how to secure and anchor a line down, with the help of a groundman so they could take the tree off the line.

"The line is anchored to the ground, or a vehicle, or something else capable of holding it down," said Daniel. Then, when the limb is free, the line is released under a controlled circumstance.

Daniel said he spent all day with the crews, spending time both in the classroom and out in the field, discussing these and other safety precautions we teach to all of our associates.

Daniel speaks throughout the United States, in any of the 34 states Townsend covers. He's been doing it for 30 years, and still likes seeing the results of his teaching efforts pay off.

Daniel said, "I remember once, when I was teaching a group of men about this subject. We had one big guy who was so excited when he got his tree off the line, he jumped up and down like a cheerleader and shouted a big 'wa-hoo!' He got red in the face, and the other guys had a good laugh, but it was so spontaneous because he was so excited. I love moments like that."

If you would like to learn more about our safety classes, you can contact us and ask for more information, or to speak with our safety professionals.
Posted: 8/29/2018 1:00:00 PM by Abby Bath