Insurance Insights

Playing It Safe – Construction

Construction Safety When Working Near Power Lines

Working near power lines is serious business for construction workers. Each year, workers are needlessly hurt on the job because they fail to use caution when digging in the vicinity of power lines. Electricity – whether above-ground or underground – is a powerful force, and using caution is the best way to avoid injury or death.

Risky Activities

Workers are especially at risk of coming into contact with live underground cables when using hand tools, cutting into service ducts, trenching and using tools such as mechanical excavators, jackhammers or concrete saws. 

Be Smart and Stay Safe

Follow these safe digging practices to avoid the risk of electric shock and/or damage to equipment:

  • Always assume there are more buried cables present than have been located. In other words, dig with care even when you’ve used the One Call system to locate underground lines and cables.
  • Do not use hand-held power tools and mechanical excavators close to underground cables.
  • Before using a mechanical excavator in the vicinity of cables, dig trial holes using hand tools to verify the position and depth of buried cables.
  • Always use insulated hand tools when digging near cables. That being said, keep in mind that even insulated hand tools that are covered in dirt or debris can become conductors of electricity.
  • Wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE)—including gloves—to give added protection against shock.
  • Treat any cable you find as a live cable until proven otherwise.
  • When cables are exposed while digging, take protective measures to ensure they do not become damaged during the course of your work. Achieve this by covering the exposure with items such as timber boarding or sand bags.
  • If you have enough personnel on-site, consider assigning someone to the role of safety watcher, responsible for making sure nothing comes into unsafe contact with above-ground and underground power lines.

Develop Emergency Procedures

Develop proper emergency procedures in case of accidental contact with live power lines. If you need help with this, VTC Insurance Group is ready to lend a hand. Simply contact a VTC agent near you, give us a call, or visit vtcins.com

This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.

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