Few of us want to spend our lives high above the ground, balancing on poles during windy, rainy, or cold weather, yet that’s what many electrical linemen do every day. Add the potential safety-related issues of working on electrical systems, and you need to ensure that workers can get the job done well and safely.
Daniel Trujillo, a lineman with the Lab’s Maintenance and Site Services organization, has recently been recognized with the Lineman-of-the-Year award from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Trujillo won the award based on his academic and work performance, community service, and union participation. Trujillo’s competition for the award was extensive, with more than 35,000 apprentices in the United States and Canada potentially eligible for the award. Among other attributes, judges were impressed with Trujillo’s efforts to hone his skills in competition last year at the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Kansas as well as a win at the Seventh District Southwestern Line Constructor’s Apprentice-of-the-Year competition. Trujillo is also highly respected by his managers and coworkers for his dedication, humility, and teamwork.
Trujillo will travel to Washington D.C. later this spring to receive his award from the international president of the IBEW.
By now, most people are aware of the energy savings associated with fluorescent bulbs, but the science behind the efficiency currently requires the use of mercury vapor—a hazardous material. While that can pose a problem at the end of the bulb’s life, LANL is using a new piece of equipment that helps dispose of spent fluorescent bulbs compactly and safely.
The new bulb crushers reduce the volume of waste and filter the mercury vapor to meet Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. The bulbs are fed into the "Bulb Eater" where they are pulverized and deposited into a 55-gallon drum. Once the drums are full or the air filter is exhausted, the supplier picks up the material for further recycling at its facility. Each 55-gallon drum can hold up to 1,300 four-foot bulbs.
Not only does the process save the Lab money compared with routine disposal, but minimal handling of the bulbs means less accidental breaking and less environmental and worker exposure to the mercury vapor. That takes on an increased significance since the Lab disposes of roughly 30,000 fluorescent bulbs a year.
The equipment is being used for large disposal needs, such as preparation for building demolition, and also for bulbs taken out of service across all LANL non-leased facilities.