Protecting and Promoting Your Interests

What to do if in Contact with Energized Powerline

Unfortunately, even with the best intentions and proper planning incidents occur.  One that has recently been brought to our attention is what steps should be taken if you find yourself in a piece of equipment that is in contact with an energized powerline.
There was a recent incident where a customer truck driver drove his truck with the truck’s tarping mechanism raised. The tarping mechanism contacted an energized overhead power line which energized the tarping mechanism and the truck. The customer truck driver stopped the truck.  While exiting the truck, he contacted the energized truck and received a non-fatal electrical shock. However, when he tried to re-enter the truck, he was electrocuted.
Please review the following steps to take if you are in a piece of equipment that is in contact with an energized powerline.
  1. Stay in the vehicle until the power is disconnected.
  2. In case of a fire and you need to exit the piece of equipment/vehicle make sure to exit the vehicle without touching the vehicle and ground at the same time.  Once exited keep your feet together and hop until you are well away from the unit.
Click here to view an informative video that provides additional information.
Always follow these simple steps to prevent the most common mistakes when working near overhead power lines:
  1. Before you begin working, look up and note the location of power lines. You can be seriously hurt or killed if the object you are holding or standing on contacts a power line.
  2. Lower equipment apparatus before driving.
  3. Work at a safe distance from all power lines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that equipment be kept at least 10 feet away from power lines with voltages up to 50kV. For lines with voltages higher than 50kV, the required distance is even greater
  4. Identify the work zone by either:
    1. Demarcating boundaries (such as with flags, or a device such as a range limit device or range control warning device) and prohibiting the operator from operating the equipment past those boundaries, or
    2. Defining the work zone as the area 360 degrees around the equipment, up to the equipment's maximum working radius.