This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk discusses working around overhead power lines. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a handout (includes Sign-In Sheet).




Working Around Overhead Power Lines

All construction workers should be aware of electrical hazards on the job site. Many job sites have overhead power lines running over and through them. Employees working from heights, or using tall equipment and tools need to pay attention when working around them, and most of all, LOOK UP!

General Safety Tips:

  • LOOK UP! Identify and pay attention to the location of power lines.
  • Conduct initial and daily surveys of the job site and implement control measures and training to address hazards.

Working Around Overhead Power Lines

  • Never get closer than 10 feet to a power line.
  • Don’t operate equipment around overhead power lines unless you are authorized and trained to do so.
  • If an object (scaffolds, crane, etc.) must be moved in the area of overhead power lines, appoint a competent worker (Spotter) whose only responsibility is to observe the clearance between the power lines and the object.
  • Remember that power from power lines can arc or jump to an object such as a crane depending on proximity and weather conditions.
  • Warn others if the minimum distance is not maintained.
  • When working near overhead power lines, the use of non-conductive fiberglass ladders is recommended. Aluminum ladders and metal scaffolds or frames conduct electricity.
  • Avoid storing materials underneath or near overhead power lines.

Safety Precautions When There Are Downed Power Lines

  • Never touch an overhead line if it is down or has fallen, or assume that they are dead.
  • When a machine comes into contact with an overhead line, DO NOT allow anyone to come near or touch the machine. Summon outside assistance.
  • Never touch a person who is in contact with a live power line.

What About This Job Site?

  • Where, if present, are the overhead power lines on this job site?
  • Will there be work involving tall equipment, such as cranes or scaffolds, that could come into contact with overhead power lines?

Work at a safe distance from all power lines.
Always be aware: LOOK UP!


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