Overhead Power Lines

All construction workers should be aware of electrical hazards on the job site. When it comes to electrical safety, there is no room for carelessness or complacency. It seems as if ALL job sites have power lines running through them. All tools and equipment can come into contact with overhead power lines; so, it’s our responsibility to keep an eye out and look up! Some of the worst hazards in any work area are the ones which are the least obvious—because they are overhead.

Overhead Power Line Safety Basics

  • Never get closer than 10 feet to a power line!
  • Conduct initial and daily surveys of the job site and implement control measures and training to address hazards.
  • Don’t operate equipment around overhead power lines unless you are authorized and trained to do so—Look up!
  • If a piece of equipment must be moved in the area of overhead power lines, appoint a competent worker whose sole responsibility is to observe the clearance between the power lines and the object—Look up!
  • Warn others if the minimum distance is not maintained.
  • Never touch an overhead line if it is down or has fallen.
  • Never assume lines are dead.
  • When a machine is in contact with an overhead line, DO NOT allow anyone to come near or touch the machine.
    • Stay away from the machine and summon outside assistance.
    • Never touch a person who is in contact with a live power line.
  • When working near overhead power lines, the use of non-conductive wooden or fiberglass ladders is recommended.
  • Avoid storing materials underneath or near overhead power lines.
  • Powerlines can also be knocked down in a storm. In winter, you might find yourself closer to a power line than you expected because you can’t see it buried under snow

Contact with Vehicles

  • Stop, shift into neutral, set parking brake, shut off machine and avoid touching metal inside of vehicle. Stay seated on the machine until a qualified power company representative tells you it is safe to do so.
  • Notify the utility company immediately and call 911 if necessary. Secure the area and keep everyone out of the secured area.
  • Do not attempt to make physical contact with the operator or equipment if you are on the ground.  Contact with the equipment and ground at the same time could injure or kill you.
  • If you must leave the equipment due to smoke, fire, or other danger:
  • You must leap as far from the equipment as possible while maintaining your balance and avoiding all contact with the machine.
    • You must land with both feet together on the ground simultaneously.
    • Keep your feet side-­‐by-­‐side while you scuffle away from the equipment towards safety.
    • Do not lift your feet, shuffle only.
    • Do not shuffle your feet more than 8 inches apart from each other.
    • Do not allow anyone to come to your aid until you are clear of the high voltage zone.
  • Ensure equipment is inspected before further use.