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​Operating large vehicles and equipment safely

Large vehicles and equipment in the construction, transportation, oil & gas,and agriculture sectors are frequently involved in power line and cable strikes.

  • The leading cause of power line accidents in Edmonton involve heavy equipment such as trackhoes, backhoes, and directional drills.
  • The majority of incidents involving overhead power lines and construction equipment in Edmonton occur while the equipment is being operated or transported.
  • Over 50% of direct power line contacts in Edmonton involve excavators.
  • Over 85% of power line contacts in Edmonton involve underground power lines.

Ensuring proper power line safety practices are followed when working near power lines is essential to having a safe worksite. To avoid becoming a statistic, ensure you and your equipment are at least 7 metres away from overhead power lines and contact Utility Safety Partners to request a locate for underground utilities before breaking ground. If your work requires you to work within 7 metres of an overhead power line, call us at (780) 412-4500 and we can help provide guidance about working safely around electrical equipment.

Electricity safety tips for all industries

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Power lines and transportation of high loads​

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  Electricity safety tips for all industries

While every industry has specific risks while working around electrical equipment, cables, and power lines, there are some safety tips that apply to any industry that works with or moves oversized vehicles and equipment.

Review EPCOR's Guidelines for Working in Close Proximity to Electrical Equipment handbook for detailed information.

Ensure you know what to do if you make contact with a power line.

Enforce the 7-metre rule

Always maintain a safe distance from power lines. Your equipment does not need to directly touch a power line to cause an incident. Electricity can arc or "jump" from the power line to any conductive object. The chances of arcing increase with higher voltages or in wet or humid weather. The ability of electricity to arc decreases with distance. So make sure your crew and equipment maintain a 7 metre distance away from the overhead power line to prevent arcing. If your work requires you to work within 7 metres of an overhead power line, call us at (780) 412-4500 and we can help provide guidance about working safely around electrical equipment.

When equipment makes contact with a power line, it puts both the operator and the workers standing in the surrounding area at risk. An electrical current may flow through the equipment and into the ground for up to 10 metres putting the lives of your crew at risk. The voltage in the ground will be highest close to the equipment that is contacting the power line and "ripples" outward, energizing anything touching it. Safe work practices like enforcing the 7-metre rule to overhead power lines reduce the chances of accidental contact that can lead to serious injury or death from electrical shock.​

Request a locate before you dig

The key to avoiding underground cables is knowing where they are and exposing them by hand or hydrovac. Contact Utility Safety Partners to arrange to have all underground utilities marked.

Note: It can take up to 2 weeks to receive locates once the request has been made.

Ph: 1 (800) 242-3447

Use approved excavation techniques

There are situations where you will need to dig near underground lines that have been located and marked. If you must work around underground lines after they're located, be sure to read Guidelines for Working in Close Proximity to Electrical Equipment so you understand the proper excavation techniques. If you have questions about the electrical facilities located within your dig site, please contact us at
(780) 412-4500.

  Power lines and transportation of high loads

While it's necessary for vehicles of all sizes to be able to navigate our roads, oversized or high load vehicles have the potential to damage street lights or make contact with overhead power lines.

Oversize loads are regulated by the Government of Alberta to protect the safety of the public and to avoid damaging infrastructure like power lines. EPCOR works with transporters to ensure high loads can travel safely within the city of Edmonton.

Plan ahead before you haul

Know the height of each piece of equipment as well as the vehicles and trailers being used to move it. Check that all augers, dump truck beds and other equipment are in the lowered position before transportation.

In Edmonton, call 311 to notify the City of Edmonton in advance of transporting oversize loads, as they will need to prepare a safe route. Don't forget to take weather conditions and heavy traffic into consideration when planning. Once you plan your route, stick to it.

EPCOR pr​ovides oversized​-load escorts throughout the City of Edmonton, anything over 13.6 ft. (4.15 m) is over height and requires a permit for transport on public roads and highways from Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation.

Learn about high load vehicle regulations

Alberta Transportation has established maximum vehicle weight and dimension limits to preserve highway infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

For more information about regulations for oversize vehicles and to access the High Load Corridor map visit the Government of Alberta website or contact your local utility company.​



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.