SHOCKING NEWS: Power Line Safety Will Save Your Life

Power Lines sunset

The Dangers of Working Near Power Lines

How much do you know about Power Line Safety? Electricity is delivered over long distances via high-voltage transmission lines from generating plants to distribution substations. The overhead high-voltage lines are uninsulated, and extremely dangerous for anyone working in close proximity. Electricity can arc or flash over a long distance, which would put any person or equipment nearby at risk of damage, injury or even death. The risk exists even if direct contact is not made with the overhead power line.

Coming in contact with an energized conductor causing current to pass through the body is called electric shock. The injury from an electric shock will depend on the voltage and severity when the shock occurs. Damage can be caused to the skin, tissue, and muscle with severe cases leading to death. Arcing or Flashing is the release of electrical energy when a conductive object comes in close proximity to an energized conductor. An Arc flash can reach between 5,000 and 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pre-Plan and Conduct a Hazard Assessment

Safety Planning needs to begin prior to arriving at the job site to avoid working around energized power lines. Safety concerns at the site need to be addressed prior to starting work, which includes conducting a hazard assessment. When work is going to take place in close proximity to a power line, take the following actions:

· Call the electric company and attempt to have the line de-energized.

· Educate your workers on the safety procedures and requirements

· Know the safe working distance for workers and equipment

· Use non-conductive tools and equipment

· Wear PPE such as rubber insulated gloves and insulated sleeves.

Working Safely Near Overhead Power Lines

Upon arriving on site a designated employee should conduct a thorough inspection of all areas, and locate all present hazards. The information should then be used to develop a plan for working safely near the overhead lines, as well as how to mitigate any other hazards associated with the work site. Educate the employees on these safety processes and procedures. Signs should be posted to inform and warn others where the overhead lines are located. Use a spotter to help guide the operator when working in close proximity to power lines. Make sure safe distances are followed at all times to avoid coming into contact with the power line. The appropriate distance will be established based on the voltage of the line.

Consult with the safety professionals at Amerisafe Group for further tips and guides on Power Line Safety.

Amerisafe Group provides services to help companies develop occupational health and safety leaders and improve performance. For more information on how Amerisafe can assist with your company’s safety needs, contact an expert today.

Blog written by Amerisafe Field Safety Advisor, Jon Monfredi.


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