Never Underestimate the Power of Electricity

Electric Poles

Never Underestimate the Power of Electricity

Safety-conscious contractors understand the dangers associated with performing work near power lines and take the necessary precautions. Never underestimate the power of electricity. Before doing any work on a job site, be sure to conduct a thorough survey that identifies any power lines, utility poles, guy wires, service drops and other power-related equipment. For safety’s sake, every power line should be treated as though it’s energized. Electric shock can cause injury or even death.

Overhead Hazards:

If you are working on a hoisting/rigging, excavating, grading, or construction project within an electric line right-of-way, keep in mind the risks associated with overhead high-voltage power lines.

The following tips can help keep you safe while working within a right-of-way:

> Be aware of overhead power lines and equipment, and maintain safe working distances from energized parts.

> Use extreme care with ladders and scaffolding.

> Establish a clearance boundary around power lines before work begins.

> Pay attention to line clearance distances. The height above ground can vary, based on power load.

> Use a spotter when operating heavy equipment.

> Comply with all OSHA requirements and applicable state and federal safety regulations, including OSHA’s crane standard.

OSHA Minimum Safe Working Distances from Exposed Energized Parts

(including overhead lines) for Non-Qualified Personnel

Nominal Voltage Phase-to-Phase (V):

0 to 50,000 Minimum Working Distance Feet 10

Over 50,000 to 200,000 Minimum Working Distance Feet 15

Over 200,000 to 345,000 Minimum Working Distance Feet 20

As voltage increases, the need for greater clearance from the power source also increases. Crane distances could be greater.