“IN THE BITE”
“In the bite” is a term difficult to explain to someone who has never stood there, yet for those of us who have had the experience of being there, we will never forget it.
No, it does not mean that some ferocious beast that is set on inflicting great bodily harm is biting you. “In the bite” is when a person’s body is located in such a manner that if the stored energy of the situation were to be suddenly released serious injury could occur.
For example: a large tree limb has fallen on a span of wire. The wire is still attached at both ends yet it has sagged and stretched beneath the weight of the limb. As you are cutting away the limb you are lightening the load on the wire. When the tension of the wire overcomes the weight of the limb, the wire will suddenly and with great force try to straighten out. Being “in the bite” means that your body is in the path of that wire as it straightens out.
An IBEW brother recently had both arms broken, and suffered serious head injuries when a chunk of tree was removed from a wire under tension. He was “in the bite” because he was in the path of the wire as it straightened itself out.
Those of us who pull wire or cable are exposed to another dangerous “in the bite” situation. Have you ever used a pulling rig, a rigging wheel, and a cable dolly? In this situation the pull is not a straight line. We have formed a triangle. Inside of this triangle is the area known as “in the bite.” If the pulley we are using fails, the force being exerted on the cable will attempt to straighten out the cable. When the cable attempts to straighten out between the puller and the dolly, anyone standing in the triangle, could be seriously injured.
At our last union meeting we were discussing the topic of “in the bite.” Brother Mark Flanders gave me the following: “Avoid situating your body between two or more objects which may change position without warning, which could result in injury or death.”
There are probably other examples of being “in the bite,” so if anyone out there has questions or comments on how to stay safe please bring them up with your crew members. Get your questions answered. Remember, the only dumb question is the question not asked.