Harvey Haven was born March 23, 1941, the same day the Bonneville-Grand Coulee line was energized. The Army veteran joined Bonneville Power Administration as a groundman in Spokane, Wash., in 1964. He rose in the ranks at BPA and took his own time to educate himself, earning certificates in electrical engineering, power-line design, and power-line construction.
With five lineman electrocution deaths around the region in Haven’s first five years in the craft, he knew that safety was something he was passionate about improving. This led to his development of the famous “dirt box” teaching aid, essentially a scale model that could show exactly what happened when you weren’t properly grounding while you worked by using a lightbulb to illustrate when current would flow through a lineman’s body.
In 1994, 30 years after joining BPA, Harvey Haven retired as chief safety officer. Even at 74, he’s still writing BPA’s safety newsletter and teaching classes in safety, rigging, grounding, and more at the Technical Training Center in Vancouver, Wash. Haven has been teaching across the country for decades, and linemen across the country know and admire him.
“He’s certainly saved more lives than anybody can ever know.” – BPA supervisor of Apprentice Programs PJ LeCompte
“Harvey is much more than a lineman, but he’s a lineman at heart. He’s never forgotten where he came from.” – George Britt, retired BPA Olympia crew lineman and safety trainer
“In my opinion, Harvey is the guru of grounding. I tell all my apprentices, ‘You’d better sign up for Harvey Haven’s grounding class. Because I guarantee you, one day you’re going to be bragging that you were trained by this man,’ ” – LeCompte, Haven’s colleague in the safety training center for 15 years