Last year, over 600 companies in Alberta faced the consequences of a power line contact. Here’s what you need to know if your crew works near overhead or underground lines.
Power Line Contacts Cost Big Time
Power line contacts hit businesses where it really hurts – the bottom line. And the hard costs can add up fast. Damage to equipment, property damage and insurance increases are just some of the costs your company could face if you or a member of your crew contacts a power line.
Then there’s the penalties. The Province of Alberta can fine negligent employers up to $10,000/day for failing to protect the health and safety of their crew. A recent workplace safety incident in Edmonton resulted in a site supervisor being sentenced to four months in jail and his employer fined nearly half a million dollars.
If OHS Doesn’t Shut You Down, A Contact Certainly Will
If an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) officer observes unsafe work conditions on your site, they may issue a Stop Work Order. These orders take effect immediately and may last for hours or even days.
That’s if you’re lucky enough to be stopped before unsafe actions lead to a contact. The moment you contact a power line, work – and your company’s productivity – grinds to a halt. These incidents not only impact your company, but often the surrounding community as well. You’ll be on the hook for the costs associated with covering interruption of essential services, such as utilities and emergency response services.
Make sure everyone on your worksite knows to call before they dig to avoid making contact with underground power lines and keep equipment 7 metres away from overhead lines.
Don’t Let an Employee Pay the Ultimate Price
In business, there are few things more frustrating than lost time or money, particularly when it’s preventable. But these frustrations pale in comparison to the emotional impact of an injured employee. Or even worse, a fatality. No one wants to receive the tragic news of a colleague’s death, let alone witness the burden of grief felt by their loved ones.
If the victim of a power line contact survives an incident, they could face severe and debilitating injuries including loss of limbs, damage to internal organs and extensive burns.
Your Crew Depends on You
Take the first step towards a safer worksite by signing up for our free newsletter today. Our power line safety awareness training and resources can help you avoid costly, time consuming and potentially deadly contacts.