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We’ve all heard it—and we’ve all probably said it—there are only two seasons in Alberta: winter and construction.

As construction season begins, so does excavation season. Do what it takes to avoid any incidents on the job, and in particular be cautious when operating equipment around power lines.

Touch potential

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Electricity will always try to find the shortest path to the ground. If you touch or even come too close to an overhead line—whether it’s with a boom, crane, ladder, or other piece of equipment—the electricity can be directed to the ground through the equipment, or even through you.

Be aware of the position of your equipment in relation to overhead power lines at all times. Take a minute to look around and determine that you’re at a safe distance—this means seven metres away.

If you have identified work that needs to be done (or equipment operated) within seven metres of an energized overhead power line, you must contact the local utility. We will work with you to arrange the proper safety precautions.

Safe excavating and ground movement

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Before you begin any excavation, know your locates by contacting Alberta One-Call at 1-800-242-3447 or albertaonecall.com. They will coordinate for a locator to come to your site and mark any underground utilities in your work area.

The locater will mark all power facilities with either with a red flag or red paint. You must hand expose for one metre on both sides of this red locate; no mechanical excavation is permitted within this hand expose zone.

When you’re on site, take the few extra moments to be aware of your position (and that of your equipment) relative to power lines, and to avoid any power line-related injuries.