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High Voltage Power Line Safety is not about just power lines “IT IS ABOUT WHAT IS AROUND IT LIKE YOUR WORKERS AND EQUIPMENT”!

As the onsite or on duty SUPERVISOR in your daily safety meeting minutes and tool box talks are you telling people more than the words look up and live.  Do they know the risks and associated risks and as the supervisor do you ?

The key word is usually;  are you willing to risk it what safety have you covered with workers and staff. Overhead high-voltage conductors are usually installed at the top of utility poles. If there is more than one conductor, they are usually placed side by side on a crossarm. If there is a transformer on the pole, the high-voltage conductors are mounted above it. The Zap Zone isn’t just the power line itself: it’s also the surrounding air space (measured in metres) which insulates the line. Of course you know better than to touch a power line. But operating equipment too close to a power line is risky too. Man gets electrocuted on power lines


Accidents involving high voltages can result in severe injuries and death. When an electric current passes through the body, it generates heat and can extensively damage internal tissues. In some cases, the entry and exit wounds are so severe that a foot or hand has to be amputated. The electric current can also stop the heart.


• Even power lines carrying less than 750 volts can kill. Avoid touching them or coming too close.

• Avoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If it must be stored there, hang warning signs to prevent other workers from using hoisting-equipment to move or lift it.

• Before moving ladders, rolling scaffolds or elevating work platforms, always check for overhead lines.

Electricity seeks all paths to the ground. That path might include a tree, mobile equipment, or the human body. If a part of the equipment you are operating contacts a live power line, then anything in contact with your equipment will also become energized. The earth itself could become energized for some distance around your unit. Similarly, the ground could become energized if a tree makes contact with a power line or if a broken power line falls to the ground. When the electrical flow reaches the ground, it spreads out like ripples in a pool of water. The voltage is very high where electrical contact is made with the ground; farther away from this point, the voltage gradually drops off. Wet ground will extend the distance and the danger. The voltage at the contact point is approximately the same as the line voltage. With power lines up to and including 60 kV (60,000 V), the voltage drops to zero about 10 metres (33 ft.) away from the contact point with the ground. With higher voltages, such as those carried by the lines along transmission rights-of-way, the voltage might not drop to zero until you are as far away as 32 metres (105 ft.).

Whenever there is a voltage difference between one point and another, a current will flow. It is this flow of electricity (the current) that can cause serious injury or death.

Step potential Step potential is the voltage difference between two places that are a step apart on energized ground. For example, if you are standing on energized ground, there could be a significant difference in voltage between where one foot and the other are placed, and an electric current could flow up one leg and down the other.

Touch potential Touch potential is another danger that comes from the difference in voltage. It occurs when you touch something that is energized while standing on the lowervoltage ground. For example, if a tree or some equipment is in contact with a power line, it will be energized to the same voltage as the power line; the surrounding ground will be energized to a lower voltage. If you touch the energized equipment or tree at the same time as you touch the ground with your feet, electricity will flow through your body from the higher voltage tree or equipment to the lower voltage ground.

1. 10 METRES TO SAFETY Stay back at least 10 metres (33 ft.) from any downed power line, exposed underground cable, or where there is contact with an overhead power line. Depending on voltage, this distance may increase up to 32 metres (105 ft.).

2. LOOK UP AND LIVE All workers who operate machinery or equipment that could come in contact with power lines should look up and check for overhead power lines before beginning work.

3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS When operating machinery or equipment in close proximity to power lines, always maintain the limits of approach: 3–6 metres (10–20 ft.), depending on the voltage. For proper safe working distances, see the current occupational health and safety regulations or contact the owner of the power system or the WCB. Where any portion of a machine or equipment may come closer than the minimum distance prescribed, a form must be completed before work begins. This allows the owner of the power system to provide some form of protection.

4. DON’T HANG AROUND OPERATING EQUIPMENT On the ground stay at least 10 metres (33 ft.) away from operating equipment because if it contacts an energized line the electricity will go to ground. The operator should be on the vehicle with everyone else clear of the vehicle when the boom is in motion. If you must approach, ensure the equipment is not operating.

5. SHUFFLE OR HOP, DON’T STEP If the machinery you are operating contacts an energized line, move it away from the line to break contact. If this can’t be done, remain on the machine. If there is an uncontrollable fire, jump off the machine keeping your feet together. Never contact the machine and the ground at the same time. Once clear of the machine, shuffle away, never allowing the heel of one foot to move beyond the toe of the other. OR, hop with both feet together to a minimum distance of 10 metres (33 ft.).

6. CALL BEFORE YOU DIG Whenever digging or drilling is to occur, the location of all underground services in the area must be accurately determined. Call the owner of the power system before you dig. If a cable is accidentally dug up, call the power utility immediately. Move the digger bucket clear of the cable and stay out of the trench. If the machine can’t be moved, keep workers 10 metres (33 ft.) away and have the operator remain on the vehicle. If the operator must leave the vehicle because of fire, the operator should follow the “Shuffle or Hop, Don’t Step” rule.

7. DON’T BECOME A VICTIM Always call your local emergency services when someone is injured in an electrical accident. If they are still in contact with the electrical source and you touch them, you could be seriously injured or killed. Keep everyone back a minimum distance of 10 metres (33 ft.), and have someone call for help immediately

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