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Failing to keep all points of your equipment at least 7 metres away from overhead lines and locating underground utilities before breaking ground puts you and your whole crew in harm's way.

Know the Risks

With the leading cause of power line accidents involving heavy equipment such as excavators, cranes and backhoes, it's no surprise that construction labourers are some of the most at-risk Albertans for injury and death resulting from power line contacts.

Over 25% of direct power line contacts in Alberta involve excavators.

The majority of incidents involving overhead power lines occur while the equipment is being operated or transported. Even if the equipment doesn't make direct contact, electricity can arc or "jump" from the power line to any conductive object. The chances of arcing increase with the voltage.

Failing to locate buried utilities prior to breaking ground and inexperience working around marked lines are two reasons why underground power line contacts are so common. Request a locate before you dig by contacting Alberta One-Call online or at 1-800-242-3447.

When your equipment contacts a power line, you're not the only one at risk.

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. The voltage will be highest close to the equipment and "ripples" outward, energizing anything touching it.

Carefully planning how equipment is used in proximity to power lines is key. Always keep your equipment at least 7 metres away from overhead lines. If you must work around underground lines after they’re located, be sure to use excavation techniques approved by the underground facility owner.

Oversize equipment isn't the only culprit.

Scaffolds can reach as high as 76 metres and are made of conductive materials — two factors that put workers at high risk of power line contacts. Being trained to work safely with scaffolds around power lines can save your life.

Construction Safety on the Blog

Scaffolding and Power Line Safety

If you work with scaffolding, make sure you know the risks of working near power lines and the steps for staying safe.

September 25th, 2018
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Think a Power Line Contact Can't Happen to Your Crew? Think Again.

If your crew works near overhead or underground power lines, you need to read this.

September 13th, 2018
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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.