Among Operators of large equipment and truck drivers in Alberta, typically males 18 – 50 years old, the majority of power line contacts are associated with five common pieces of commercial and farm equipment.
#1 Track Hoes
Track-hoe incidents are the most prevalent among contacts with power lines and account for about 25% of direct power line contacts in Alberta. These contacts (mostly overhead but in some cases underground) occur while the equipment is operating or being transported.
The main reason for these contacts is that operators don’t realize that the size of equipment has grown while the height of power lines has remained the same. When transporting track hoes, operators need to take into account the combined height of the trailer and the height of the track-hoe arm.
#2 Back Hoes
Underground contacts have remained consistently high during the past few years. Unfortunately, it’s not clear what’s driving the issue: failure to get a proper line locate done or inexperience in working with marked utility lines.
#3 Gravel/Dump Trucks
Gravel/dump trucks also make frequent contact with power lines, often caused by driving with the box in the “up” position.
#4 & #5 Air Seeders & Sprayers
Many farmers have been working the same piece of land for generations, safely passing under power lines. But during the busy spring and fall seasons, some fail to notice these same power lines. Increased equipment size – from tractors to implements – makes the situation worse as the equipment may be too high to pass safely under a power line.