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​Working near overhead power lines

The danger of overhead power lines is that there is no protection on the wire. Electricity is looking for a path to ground, so if you contact an overhead wire - you, or the equipment you're operating, can be its path to ground.

Determine safe working distance

Know the limits of approach

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Large equipment

Follow safe work practices

Digging near power poles

Learn how to dig safe

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Determine the safe working distance

The limits of approach were designed to keep you working safely on the job site. In Alberta, the safe working distance is 7 metres from an overhead power line, unless confirmed otherwise by EPCOR. If you need to work within 7 metres of the power line, please contact Power Emergencies at (780) 412-4500 and ask for a Safety Codes Consult.

  • Know the limits of approach for equipment and workers and follow the guidelines.
  • Mark locations of all overhead power lines on you plans and drawings.
  • Ensure there's enough clearance to keep workers and equipment safe from overhead lines. Check the provincial regulations.
  • Call Power Emergencies at (780) 412-4500 and ask for a Safety Codes Consult. Our Safety Codes Officer will provide you with the clearance requirements specific to your area and the job.
  • Set up signs warning of overhead power lines.
  • Once the safe distance has been determined, no work can be done within this distance

Guiding loads

The single job of a designated signaller is to keep large equipment away from power lines. The signaller should know the limits of approach and keep equipment operators working safely.

  • A signaller helps equipment operators steer clear of overhead lines.
  • The signaller should stand out from the other workers and use a clear set of signals easily understood by the equipment operator.
  • Make sure the signaller can signal the equipment operator quickly and easily if there is danger of contacting a power line.

Large equipment

Every year workers operating large equipment are injured or killed because of contacts with overhead lines. Follow these safe work practices:

  • Keep vehicles clear of lines. Dump trucks, concrete rigs, cranes and other high-rise equipment can contact overhead power lines. Work with a designated signaler to keep safely away and don't forget to lower your buckets and booms before moving equipment under power lines.
  • Plan your worksite to minimize travel under power lines. Ensure safe work distances are being followed.
  • Employees should keep clear of all big equipment/machines working around power lines.
  • Machines should display a sign stating "Keep clear: working near electrical lines."
  • To arrange for a high load escort within the City of Edmonton, please follow the guidance.

Digging near power poles

  • Excavations in the vicinity of power poles can be dangerous. Soil near the base of a pole should not be disturbed without consulting your local utility.
  • A pole may need to be supported if the excavation is too close and too deep.
  • Spoil piles should not be located under power lines; this reduces the clearances and could create a hazard.
  • If power lines are contacted or torn down, stay clear - at least 10 meters - and call for help.

How we can help you work safe

If you are working within 7 metres of our overhead power equipment or digging within 1 metre of underground distribution power equipment, please take the time to do it safely. Familiarize yourself with the Alberta safety codes.
Find out how we can help

 


Disclaimer

This webpage provides information regarding safe work practices in relation to EPCOR power facilities. Employers and contractors have responsibilities under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (Alberta OHS) Act, Code, and Regulation. When there is a conflict between this document and any bylaws, legislation, or regulation, the relevant law prevails. Any reliance placed on this information is strictly at your own risk. EPCOR does not assume any responsibility or liability for any action, loss or damage that arises out of, or is in connection with the information contained in this webpage.