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Cautionary tale

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Former lineman urges others to take safety seriously during Owen Electric Cooperative meeting

By The Staff

“It’s not just you,” Eddie Black stressed Wednesday at Owen Electric’s construction safety and communications meeting.

It’s been more than a quarter century since Black nearly lost his life while working as a lineman for an electric cooperative in Kentucky.

As he attempted to re-conductor two new power lines, a terrible accident occurred when 7,200 volts of electricity surged through his body. As he worked, an older, sagging line contacted two new lines.

As a result of the incident, Black lost both arms.

Since then, Black has used the experience to teach others about the importance of being safe when working with electric power.

During what proved to be three moving and powerful sessions with Owen Electric crews and employees, Black and his wife, Lisa, shared how the experience touched their lives. While Black’s presentation served as a reinforcer of why protective gear and following proper work procedures are so critical, he reminded those in attendance that an accident doesn’t just affect the victim.

“It’s not just you,” Black said. “It affects your co-op, your friends, and your family.”

Lisa Black shared intimate family photos and experiences leading up to her husband’s accident; as a 22-year-old expectant with their second child, she was faced with numerous tasks of making critical decisions when it came to her husband’s care, taking over both new household responsibilities, and months of the rehabilitation and care of Eddie – not to mention caring for their two very young sons.

Now serving as safety team leader at South Kentucky Rural Electric, Eddie Black devotes much of his time educating others about how essential it is to develop proper safety habits in the workplace.