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Five Power Line Safety Resolutions for 2020

January 13th, 2020

In 2019, there were over 1,000 power line contacts in Alberta. What we can learn from last year’s incidents, and what we can all do to be safer in 2020.

The following information is taken from our Digital Contact Map, which shows all reported power line contacts in Alberta. Search the map yourself and share it with your team!

It could happen to you

Power line contacts happen every day in our province. They affect every industry, from construction to farming to forestry. They happen in urban areas and rural areas, residential and industrial. Casual labourers, and seasoned pros, both young and old. Although most overhead contacts occur in rural areas and underground contacts happen more in urban areas, that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk of both. So it's critical that everyone on the jobsite is aware of the dangers, and what to do.

Safety Resolution: Make sure all of your employees know what to do if you make contact.

Contacts are both overhead and underground

Overhead contacts have typically been more common but underground contacts have grown in number – in 2019, there were over 600 overhead contacts, compared with over 390 underground – but both are common, and equally dangerous. Most of these overhead contacts were related to industrial activity and equipment.

Safety Resolution: When operating near overhead power lines, remember the 7-Metre Rule: ensure all routes and equipment are kept at least 7 metres away from overhead power lines.

Power line contacts spike in spring and fall

In 2019, October saw the most reported incidents, with 139. July saw the least, with 42. Underground contacts are more seasonal, while overhead contacts are more constant throughout the year. Whether working above-ground or below, it’s important to remember that power line contacts can happen any time of year.

Safety Resolution: Be aware of the increased risk in Spring and Fall, when ground conditions are tougher and crews are working hard to kick off or wrap up construction season. And when planning underground work, make sure to request a line locate at least 5 days before breaking ground.

Power line contacts occurred in every region of Alberta

From Waterton Lake to Zama City, every corner of our province was affected by power line contacts in 2019. But whether you are requesting a locate or reporting an incident, you need to know which utility company needs to be contacted.

Safety Resolution: Know which utility to contact in your area by using our postal code search tool.

Book a safety awareness session in 2020

One of the best safety resolutions you can make is to host a safety awareness session at your workplace – because there’s nothing like learning hands-on. Sessions for 2020 are filling up, but there are still plenty of spots available. Fill out the request form and a training session coordinator will get in touch with you.

Related Posts

Contact Map

Think power line contacts are few and far between? Think again.
See the overhead and underground contacts occurring near you.

The Joint Utility Safety Team (JUST) is a partnership between the following Alberta electric utilities with contributions from local municipalities, formed to address the frequency of power line contacts across the province.