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Power Line Safety Overview & Tips For Worker Safety

Power Line Safety Overview for Workers

Power lines are a serious danger in many outdoor work sites. For anyone working in hazardous environments, taking power line safety seriously is essential. This is because any accidents related to power lines can be fatal if not avoided.

Overhead electrical power lines pose all kinds of risks. They can cause severe electrical shocks, cause dangerous falls, start electrical fires, or be the cause of vehicle and machinery accidents. For any workers involved in a job site with electrical power lines present, having proper electrical safety training and protocols in place is crucial.

Understanding Power Line Safety

Power lines are one of the main causes of electrical fatalities and injuries. In most accident cases involving power lines, fatalities occur due to a lack of proper electrical training. Anyone working in an environment with power lines must understand the kind of risk they offer and know how to deal with them.

The obvious danger around power lines is electrocution. Anyone working directly with the power line faces the most risk. As such, it is critical that they follow precise electrical safety guidelines and standards. However, power lines also pose a threat to various other workers.

People in the agricultural industry face dangers when working in fields where active power lines are present. Power lines can also present dangers to all workers on construction sites. They can also cause car accidents, with falling power lines posing a serious threat. In the event of serious storms, anyone exposed to a power line could be at risk.

Basically, if you work in an environment where power lines hang overhead, you need to follow clear power line safety procedures to minimize risk.

Workers around power lines should consider all lines to be dangerous and live in order to take the appropriate precautions. When entering a work area, it’s important to identify and point out all nearby power lines. Following this, workers can better prepare and take the correct safety precautions.

Best Practices for Power Line Safety

Following general OSHA safety standards in the workplace is important. But, when overhead power lines are present, you need to introduce a whole new line of safety standards.

Here are some key safety procedures below to follow on job sites like this:

  • First of all, ensure that all power lines are located and identified by every worker on the site.
  • Everyone should maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from overhead power lines at all times. This includes workers as well as their equipment.
  • If anything on the job site makes contact with a power line, such as a crane or a part of scaffolding, never touch this item. The power line could be live, sending a strong current through any item in contact with it.
  • You will also need to be aware of any fencing that may be near a power line. When erected, the fencing should always maintain a distance of 10 feet from the power line.
  • If workers carry any equipment on sites with power lines overhead, they should carry it low down and horizontally. This includes things like ladders, poles, or any tall pieces of equipment.
  • When driving and using equipment, like diggers, the parts should always be lowered when working near power lines. For example, always keep the arm of a digger as low as possible when driving around power lines. Having it raised up could come into contact with the line – causing a serious accident.
  • Never spray water anywhere near power lines. If you need to work with water, then make sure there is no spray going upwards.
  • It can be extremely dangerous if a power line falls to the ground. Always maintain a distance of at least 35 feet from any fallen power line.

Vehicle Accidents With Power Lines

Another unique danger with power lines is when a vehicle has an accident with one. This could either occur by the vehicle driving into the power line pole, a power line falling on top of a vehicle, or a tall vehicle making contact with an overhead power line.

Whatever the case may be, it’s vital to follow certain safety procedures:

  • If a vehicle makes contact with a power line or utility pole, one should assume that the line is live and dangerous.
  • Never approach the area of the accident. Make sure that everyone present at the site does not approach the accident. This includes the vehicle, the power line, and any other object that may have come into contact with the line.
  • Everyone should maintain a safe distance of 35 feet from the vehicle and power line.
  • If you are in the vehicle, remain where you are. Unless there is fire or smoke, which could be the start of an electrical fire, remain in the vehicle until emergency services arrive. If you do see fire or smoke, then you will need to exit the vehicle. This should be done by keeping both feet together – not touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Try to shuffle out of the area without lifting your feet. You could also try to do one big jump from the vehicle.
  • In the event of a vehicle and power line collision, make sure to call the emergency services straight away.

Ensuring Safety In The Work Environment

Contact with live overhead power lines is a serious threat in construction, utility, and agricultural industries. The only way to reduce incidents is to ensure that power line safety practices are enforced for all workers. To do this, you should use proper hazard assessment tools and training sessions.

Workers need to be up to date with the correct safety protocols, and they need to implement widespread safety compliance.

When starting work on a site with power line risks, always begin by planning and setting up management strategies for any work around the power lines.

Always try to eliminate the danger first by following the correct protocols for avoiding contact with power lines. This can either be done by avoiding the power lines completely or diverting them somewhere else while the job is being performed at the site. Having strict access control around the work area is also important.

To ensure proper safety in the workplace, you should take a few basic measures when managing the site. For example, it’s a good idea to implement a strict safety clearance height for any vehicles or machinery entering the site. Anything that exceeds the clearance limit should be excluded from the site.

You could also add restraints to the machinery used on-site, such as cranes or telehandlers, to ensure that they don’t extend beyond the required clearance height.

To make sure that all of the above power line safety procedures are followed, there must be proper supervision on-site. Having clear safety guidelines and protocols means nothing if the site is not supervised consistently and monitored to ensure compliance with safety procedures.

Final Thoughts On Power Line Safety

For any workers and equipment operators to avoid serious injury, it is crucial to enforce proper workplace safety practices. Power lines pose a serious threat for workers and are the cause of many fatalities in several industries. So, avoiding these accidents is critical.

Follow the correct safety standards, keep all workers well-informed, and monitor dangerous job sites. This can help to avoid serious injuries and save lives. Using software, like Field1st, to stay compliant with OSHA safety standards and best practices is always a good idea here.