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Staying Safe When Working Near Overhead Power Lines

Know how to navigate around overhead power lines safely



People see overhead power lines so often that these practically fade from view. Yet, this could be one of the biggest oversights one could ever have, because overhead power lines can be extremely dangerous - failure to exercise caution when working near overhead power lines can cost someone’s life.



Why are overhead power lines so dangerous?

To some, working around overhead power lines is unavoidable. Working in construction and maintenance often brings people close to these power lines, vehicular and motor accidents are also one of the leading causes of power line contact.

Given that power lines could be a danger to anyone, knowing how to navigate around overhead power lines is essential. Contact with live overhead power lines can cause serious injuries or even death. What’s even more concerning is electricity can travel short distances, so a person can still get injured even without direct contact with a live power line.



How can you minimise danger when working around overhead power lines?

Companies should conduct adequate planning and management to avoid risks from accidental contact. The team here at Real Electrical solutions are ASP Level 2 trained Electricians who understand the dangers of overhead power cables and have compiled this list of some of the most important and fundamental measures that should be taken to enforce safety near overhead power lines (click on each heading to learn more):


Plan and prepare for overhead power lines

Businesses or individuals conducting work anywhere should check if there are overhead power lines within the work area. If there are power lines, it is better to assume that those are live power lines unless proven otherwise.

Consult with the management or owner of the power line. When working in the area, the power lines should be turned off or diverted at the very least. If this is not possible, the business or individual should enforce precautions to eliminate the danger.


Reduce risk when working near power lines

If working near overhead power lines is unavoidable, there are two main ways to reduce the risk for danger: Diversion or avoidance.


Diversion

In diversion, the business should work with the owner or management of the power line to divert the line away from the work area. They could also request isolation – making the power lines dead for the time being.


Avoidance

If diversion or isolation is not possible, the next step is avoidance. First, the company should check if it is necessary to carry out work near the overhead power lines. If yes, then the work area should be moved away from the power lines. If moving is not possible, businesses should make sure not to place materials under the overhead lines. Additionally, they should place temporary construction structures at a safe distance away from the power lines.


Control access to the work area

There is a two-fold process in controlling the access to the work areas near overhead power lines. Firstly, businesses should limit the people who can freely go in and out of the work area. They should only provide clearance to individuals with proper orientation and training to reduce the possibility of human error in the work area.

Secondly, businesses should erect safety barriers in work areas that have resistance to electricity. These barriers will prevent people from going in and out of the work area when there is no scheduled work. They should also make sure that these barriers have ample clearance areas to reduce risk to people working within the danger areas.


Manage risk in the work area

Since working near overhead power lines cannot always be avoided, several safety measures must be followed in the workplace. Here are some of the precautions the companies can review to manage the risk in work areas near power lines:

  • Adding safety clearance (height) under overhead power lines.

  • Removing equipment, machinery, and other materials that could reach above the height clearance.

  • Modifying vehicles and equipment to make sure they will not reach beyond the power line clearance.

  • Instructing the staff not to operate the machinery above the safety clearance.



Things to remember when working close to overhead power lines

Knowing the basics when working near overhead power lines is crucial. Here are some of the most vital things to remember when working close to overhead power lines:


Always assume that the power line is live or active

It is better to be safe than sorry. If you see overhead lines, assume that those are live power lines and exercise due diligence when working near the power lines.


Do not touch downed wires

If you see downed power lines, do not remove them - there is a possibility that electricity still flows in downed power lines. Instead, contact a local, trusted, professional electrician from Real Electrical Solutions, based in Newcastle, NSW, and ask them to deal with the power line issue.

This also applies to materials in contact with the downed power line. If there are poles, wires, or other materials touching the downed power lines directly, it can serve as a conductor of electricity. Avoid being in contact with those to prevent accidents.


Keep a safe distance from the power lines

To avoid direct or indirect contact, staying at least three metres away from the overhead power lines is recommended. This also goes for meters, transformers and electrical boxes near the power lines.


Handle trees located near power lines properly

If you are inexperienced or not confident in handling foliage that is near power lines, it’s best to leave this to professionals with expertise in the field. Also, avoid climbing trees near the power lines. Even though the power lines might not touch the trees directly, there is still a possibility for contact once the trees move.


Let Real Electrical Solutions help you deal with overhead power lines

You may think that handling power lines is easy, but there’s a high risk for danger if you mishandle these lines. Ensure that you are dealing with your overhead power lines properly by approaching only experienced companies like Real Electrical Solutions, one of the most trusted electrical solutions companies in New South Wales

Our electricians are all fully accredited level 2 electricians and Real Electrical Solutions can directly help you deal with the overhead power lines in your work area. Contact us now on 0403306842 or admin@realelectricalsolutions.com.au to find out more.


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