This linesman belt was used under the 1947 Electricity Regulations and before tighter Occupation and Health regulations (late 1990's early 2000's) were introduced that mechanical lifting platforms(wherever possible) replaced the belt up the pole method.The safety concern was that it required that tools needed by the linesman had to be placed in a large canvas bag and attached to the belt (extra weight) then the linesman had to climb the ladder. Ladders had to be at the correct angle and not able to "slip" from their initial footings. A full harness and a secondary fall belt is now mandatory for pole linesmen. The safety of fellow workers could be compromised if they were required to assist or recover the first linesman if needed. In 2006 an additional 269 registered lineworkers were employed. Please note that the terminology of linesman has become unisex. The linesman's belt enabled the linesman to place his feet against the pole adjust the belt (if needed) and lean back securely allowing both hands to be free to work with.
This linesman belt is very significant to the Kiewa Valley due to the numerous poles and high voltage overhead power structures that needed maintenance for the extensive "mushroom" installation of electrical power polls(wood and metal). On high poles (steel) climbing pegs were welded on, however in the Alpine areas snow in winter caused an OH&S problem which were hard to overcome. The safety of a linesman when maintenance of electricity line on poles can be highlighted by the New Zealand linesman who survived an 11,000 volt shock when carrying out maintenance. For the record 11,000 volts is four times more powerful than execution by "the electric chair". The maintenance of the linesman's belt was his responsibility (keeping it clean and in "good" condition). Labour laws change this initial responsibility, from the linesman, to the employer. Climbing pegs were installed on higher poles that extended beyond the reach of ladders.
This thick leather linesman belt is made from two lengths of heavy lengths of leather straps sewn together to make up 80% of the belt. The remaining 20% is "the belt tonge" which has eleven holes for three (solid steel tang) buckle connections.