By Anna Guy
This year, Lineman’s Testing Laboratories of Canada (“LTL”) celebrates 60 years of delivering quality products and reliable services to its 7,000 customers in the power utility, industrial and commercial sectors across Canada.
For LTL, safety is all encompassing, Over the last six decades, LTL has solidified its reputation in the industry as a trusted full-service provider offering extensive inventory, supply, service and education. As well, LTL has set the precedent for having the knowledge and procedures in place for identifying what and how equipment is to be tested to ensure optimum performance and worker safety.
Established in 1958, LTL quickly grew to become an invaluable partner for companies within the utility, industrial and commercial sectors across Canada, as a utility product supply house and high voltage service provider. Industry-wide, LTL is recognized and respected for its integrity, and long-term business relationships, offering the services of three divisions: Power Technical Services; LTL Utility Supply; and, NAIL-accredited High Voltage Testing, Calibration and Factory Authorized Tool and Equipment Repair.
LTL’s loyal customer base expanded to include Canada’s leading and largest public utilities. Today, LTL has long-term utility product supply and MRO contracts with virtually all power utilities across Canada.
Stock, Utility Supply, and Service
It started with rubber gloves. LTL gained vast market share for the supply of these gloves in the ‘80s, then expanded its offering as safety awareness became more prevalent and regulations mandated the use of personal protective equipment. LTL became known as one of the industry’s foremost suppliers, partnering with leading manufacturers of this equipment. Today, LTL has long-standing relationships with and represents companies such as Honeywell (Salisbury, Miller, BW), 3M, Hastings, Columbus McKinnon, CPI, Allied Bolt, Capital Safety (DBI Sala), Greenlee, Timberland Equipment, to name but a few.
LTL’s expanse product offering includes, but is not limited to, personal protective equipment, arc flash gear, rubber goods, battery and hydraulic tools, personal protective grounds, live line tools, chain and web hoists, meters, pole line equipment and electrical apparatus. With large distribution centres in Ontario and Alberta, LTL offers coast-to-coast sales coverage and timely deliveries to its customers.
LTL was proud to support the disaster relief efforts by a Canadian utility to restore power to communities impacted by the 2017 hurricanes. Pulling from its extensive inventory, large numbers of grounds, hot sticks and other tools were quickly assembled and shipped to the airport for immediate deployment. “The breadth of our inventory is a big advantage for us,” says Robert Burgess, President. “Manufacturers can and do experience delivery issues whereas we have product readily available for our customers. It gives us, and our customers, a solid foundation not only for emergency situations, but on a daily basis. Not just a supply house—we have the knowledge and back up to support today’s utilities with custom builds, repairs and certifications.”
Another keen advantage between LTL and another supplier “would be the fact that we certify, service, and warranty, in-house, what we sell,” says Burgess. “People rely on our capabilities for their safety and lives, something we take very seriously.”
Testing, Calibration, Inspection and Repair
“We pride ourselves in staying abreast of new and changing legislation,” says Burgess. To that end, LTL laboratories are NAIL-accredited, and LTL’s comprehensive electrical services are conducted in accordance to all applicable industry standards, including IEEE, ASTM, and NETA.
LTL is home to Canada’s largest NAIL-accredited certified high voltage testing facilities. To comply with the accreditation, LTL laboratories must maintain detailed procedures manuals and records of all equipment tested. The ability for a company or worker to present a test report proves advantageous in demonstrating due diligence to necessary authorities during an investigation should an incident occur where a worker is injured. Aside from safety considerations, proper certification benefits customers’ bottom lines. “Equipment that is properly maintained lasts longer, performs to its original manufacturer specifications, and is in a condition that minimizes the risk of interruption or harm to the worker.”
To further conform to legislation, LTL ensures that initial electrical acceptance tests are performed (IHSA Electrical Utility Safety Rules book, Section 134, Clause 2). Under the manufacturing specification as described in the ASTM D120, Section 11.2 to 11.3.1, the product manufacturer has options as to how to proof-test equipment in the factory. As most manufacturers do not provide test reports, there is no ability to track the test data back to the manufacturer; with no proof of compliance, the worker and company are in a position of liability should there be an incident or investigation.
LTL’s high voltage and tool repair facilities have distinguished the company, evolving over the years to include inspection, testing and calibration of most equipment used in our industry, says Burgess. “LTL offers certification for tools and equipment requiring safety certification or calibration; this includes electrical gloves, rubber goods such as line hose, blankets and cover-up, grounds, meters, live line tools, chain and web hoists, and gas detection devices. LTL also repairs hydraulic and battery operated cutting and crimping tools, and has been certified by S&C Electric for load bust tool repairs and other services.” Burgess adds, “We have created a turnkey service for our customers which includes extensive inventory, supply, maintenance, and certification per the standards and regulations mandated in our industry and as required by our utility and industrial customers, for the products we sell.”
To stay current with changing legislation, LTL is an active member of numerous associations for the promotion of safety awareness in the workplace, including the EDA, ESA/ECRA, OEL, and IHSA. Burgess is on the NAIL Board of Directors for the development of uniformity and setting standards in protective equipment testing, and the ASTM F18 Technical Committee for setting standards and establishing best practices for the protection of the electrical worker.
Power Technical Services Support
A three-pronged company, the Power Technical Services Division complements and completes LTL’s vision for a full service offering. This division supports companies in effectively managing their substations and protective control systems. Through regular equipment maintenance, the customer has protected itself with respect to insurance coverage, reducing the risk of production downtime, but more importantly, ensuring the safety of the operator working on or near this equipment. “Again, we are all about protecting the worker and the company, and have been doing so since 1958, so providing this service completes our full circle, comprehensive offering. The LTL name truly is synonymous with electrical,” says Burgess.
The Power Technical Service Division offers compliant electrical engineering services, CSA-Z462 compliant arc flash hazard analyses, substation design, installation, maintenance, infrared thermography, S&C Electric factory-trained PHM switchgear refurbishing, and Transformer oil regeneration services.
Burgess adds, “Because LTL understands and values the importance of minimal downtime, LTL service trucks are equipped with substation repair equipment and specialty parts.” Additionally, should there be a need, LTL has available inventory in its 53,000-square-foot facility including three-phase gang operated disconnect switches of all sizes and configurations, fuse assemblies, fuses, terminators, high voltage switchgear, transformers, etc. Power generators are also available as part of LTL’s emergency power solutions. Burgess claims that LTL can restore power within a ten-hour period in 80 per cent of plant substation power failures.
To properly support its customers, the LTL team includes certified technologists, laboratory technicians, electrical engineers, linemen, master electricians as well as degreed business personnel, product specialists, facilitators and knowledgeable customer care representatives; many of whom have extensive industry experience.
“Our collective industry experience instills confidence in our customers knowing that we understand firsthand the risks and dangers associated with electrical work as we are electrical workers,” says Burgess.
Burgess says of LTL’s 60th anniversary, “We would not be here today if not for the hard work and commitment of our employees; they have been instrumental in our growth and success. Our founder, William (Bill) Burgess would be proud of the positive impact we have made, and will continue to make, in our community.”