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​Strategies to prevent contact

Creating a safe work environment takes effort; however, investing time in planning safe work strategies will save your business time and money. More importantly, it's an investment in the well-being of your employees.

Overhead work hazards such as power lines and cables, scaffolding, and underground cables are potential worksite hazards that can be managed with safe work practices and planning.

Assess the hazards

Read assessments

Use a spotter

Read more

Make everyone responsible for safety

Read more

  Assess the hazards

Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation requires employers to conduct hazard assessments on work sites. If the hazards identified can't be eliminated, the employer must put controls in place to protect their workers.

A hazard assessment prompts everyone on the site to be mindful to take precautions around dangers they could encounter while working.

For more detailed information about identifying hazards, roles and responsibilities and the Occupational Health & Safety Act, check out the Hazard Assessment and Control Handbook.

Formal hazard assessment

Formal hazard assessments identify and evaluate occupational health and safety hazards, and identify the controls used to mitigate those hazards. This assessment looks at the way the organization operates. Hazard assessments must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that existing controls are effective. It's a good idea to involve the whole crew to ensure the assessment reflects a variety of roles and perspectives.

Field-level hazard assessments

A field-level hazard assessment is site specific. The employee in charge at the site will ensure a safe work plan considers locates on underground utilities and proximity to overhead power lines. All employees on site must assist in hazard identification and mitigation.

Hazard assessment happens every day at every work site. If required, employees should stop the work and revise the safe work plan by identifying controls for newly identified hazards. If your switch worksites during the day complete another assessment or if you're joining work already under way, review the one completed by the crew you are joining.

  Use a spotter

An important hazard mitigation strategy is a spotter. Having a spotter on the worksite helps equipment operators identify hazards and safe limits of approach from power lines. It's not just a great safety practice, it's the law in Alberta.

The role of a spotter:

  • Identify potential hazards in the area where equipment will be operating.
  • Ensure that workers who operate equipment maintain a minimum of 7 metres from overhead power lines by continually monitoring.
  • Act as a guide to help equipment operators avoid hazards in real time.
  • Contact EPCOR to advise on risk controls and help you manage the working distances if it's not possible to maintain a 7-metre distance.

Spotter safety

The role of spotter has its own risks. Here are some tips to ensure the spotter also remains safe on the job.

  • Equipment operators and spotters should pre-arrange hand signals. Noisy worksites can make verbal communication unreliable.
  • A spotter should wear a fluorescent vest with reflective strips that is clearly visible in all lighting conditions.
  • The spotter should stand at the rear of the equipment on the driver's side, which provides a clear view of the entire backing-up path while giving the operator a clear view of the spotter.
  • Spotters (and any other worker on the site) should stop before passing behind vehicles and equipment to make sure the operator sees them. It's a good idea to always make eye contact with the operator directly or through the mirrors.

  Make everyone responsible for safety

Hazardous conditions at work affect everyone on the job. Adopt a safety culture on every worksite to keep everyone safe. Every employee or contractor, no matter their job, should feel they can bring forward any safety concerns.


 

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.