Utilizing ATVs to Expedite Inspection ProcessInnovation
By Brian Sprinkle, Technical Applications Supervisor
Utility arboriculture has evolved so much in the past few decades. To some degree, we’ve begun to move away from the methodology that “if it’s not broke, why fix it”. The main driving force in this progressive evolution is the wide array of tools that we have in our arborist tool box. The tools that we utilize- mechanical, technological, and best management practices- are only as good as the hands of the operator that we put them in. In order to effectively and efficiently utilize these tools, we have to teach people how to properly utilize them. This is where a comprehensive training program comes into play.
In 1999, our founders recognized a need for helping utilities establish proper utility vegetation management (UVM) programs. By leveraging their knowledge and influence in the industry, they set the foundation for the company that is CNUC that you see today. CNUC has grown from just two individuals to almost 200. With this phenomenal growth comes growing pains. One of these growing pains was the data transfer process for training. CNUC has recognized this deficiency proactively, and has established comprehensive training programs for the methodology and tools that we utilize in order to provide a superior product to our customers.
ATVs are very effective tools that help expedite our inspection process for UVM. We patrol thousands of miles of line annually for various contracts across the United States. These lines traverse a multitude of terrain types, both rural and urban. ATV usage really comes into play in rural settings. Its use could potentially save our employees countless hours walking lines. But, like all tools that we use, its true potential is only seen in the hands of qualified operators. In order to properly train our employees on safe and effective ATV usage, CNUC has developed a comprehensive training program.
CNUC’s ATV safety training program consists of two components:trainer certification and operator certification. Each internal ATV safety trainer will need to complete a two-and-a-half hour long online ATV safety class. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate of completion. They will also be required to complete a half day hands-on ATV safety training course. Upon the completion of both the online and hands-on courses, they will also have to perform a joint training course with the Technical Applications Supervisor. In this training course, potential operators will spend a half day utilizing hands-on operation of ATVs in the field.
CNUC ATV trainers will need to complete a hands-on half day course provided by ATV Safety Institute annually to retain Trainer Certification. ATV operators will have to complete the online portion as well as the hands-on component on an annual basis to retain Operator Certification.
ATVs can be a very effective tool that we utilize in order to make our job more efficient. What would normally take us hours to patrol can be done within a relatively short period of time. However, just like any other tool, ATVs are only as effective as the knowledge that the operator has on its safe and effective use. CNUC will ensure that each and every one of our employees has the proper skillset to utilize these amazing tools.