Manager’s Message – June 2024

Look Up for Power Lines

Roger Kline It can be easy to overlook things we see daily—including overhead power lines. Failure to notice overhead lines can be deadly. If you or an object you are touching contacts or gets too close to a power line, you could be seriously injured or killed.

Overhead power lines require 10 feet of clearance in all directions. This distance rule applies to the power lines draped from pole to pole near roads—these are distribution lines—and the drop-down lines that service homes or other structures.

If your job requires you to operate equipment near large transmission lines and towers, these require even more clearance than distribution and drop-down lines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration determines that clearance.

Be mindful of overhead power lines when completing any task.

Home Maintenance

Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools such as ladders, pool skimmers, and pruning poles. Lower long tools and equipment before moving or transporting them. Other safety tips include:

  • Carry ladders and other long items horizontally whenever possible.
  • Be careful when working on or around your roof.
  • Never go on a roof in windy or bad weather.

Yard Work

When trimming trees, do not allow yourself or trimmers to come within 10 feet of overhead power lines, including service lines to your home or outbuilding. Also:

  • Do not trim trees near power lines. Instead, leave this to certified line clearance tree trimmers.
  • Do not use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines.
    Farming

Review power line locations and other potential electrical hazards with all workers at morning safety meetings. Equipment that could get too close or contact a power pole or line includes sprayer tips, combines, dump trucks, augers, and other extensions.

At Work

Follow all OSHA distance requirements when operating dump trucks, cranes, concrete pump truck extensions, and when working on a roof or in a bucket.

Other reminders:

  • Do not come within 50 feet of a downed or damaged power line. Warn others to stay away. Call 911 to report it.
  • Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines are not touching the tree, they could come in contact when weight is added to the branch.

Look up and look out for overhead power lines. Contact can happen in an instant. For additional electrical safety tips, visit the Safe Electricity website.