Overhead power line safety

Accidents involving contact with overhead power lines can not only damage equipment, but also cause serious injuries and even death.

If your job requires you to work near overhead power lines — installing antennas, pruning trees or operating cranes, for example — make sure you exercise caution at all times.

The Arizona Legislature enacted the Overhead Power Line Safety Law to make working near overhead power lines safer. Please familiarize yourself with the law as it establishes safety standards that can prevent accidents.

Also, be sure you know what to do if someone comes into contact with an energized power line.

Overhead line safety precautions

Please remember the following safety guidelines when working near overhead power lines:

  • Keep a safe distance from power lines. Ten feet is generally considered the minimum safe distance. Keep your distance even if a power line appears to be broken or grounded, because the line could still be energized. Contact with an energized line can injure or kill.
  • Stay clear of downed power lines. Call 911 and keep everyone 100 feet away from the line.
  • Check carefully for overhead lines in the area you will be working before starting any work. Don't assume that wires are telephone or cable lines, and contact your electric utility for advice.
  • Look up before raising long-handled tools and equipment to make sure they won’t come in contact with a power line. Always carry them horizontally.
  • If you need to cut a branch, be sure it won't fall into power lines. Should a branch fall into our lines, call us at (602) 236-8888 to remove it.
  • Make sure ladders can't come into contact with power lines in case they fall over.
  • Work only in good weather. Thunderstorms, rain, winds and damp or icy ground can cause you to lose control and come into contact with power lines.
  • Don't assume a power line is insulated. Although overhead power lines may appear to be insulated, often these coverings are intended only to protect metal wires from weather conditions and may not protect you from electric shock.

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Installing antennas

  • Read the manufacturer's instructions before you begin installing an antenna, and follow the directions carefully. They can warn you of potential installation and removal hazards.
  • Don't install antennas too close to overhead lines. SRP recommends they be installed no closer than twice the length of the assembled antenna.
  • Be careful with rotating antennas. If your antenna can be rotated once it is installed, be sure it can't be twisted into or around nearby power lines.
  • Keep all equipment away from power lines. Covered antennas or non-metallic guy wires may not provide protection against electric shock.

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Working on a farm

  • Make sure adequate clearance is available before driving high profile equipment (e.g., cranes, harvesters, ladders) under power lines.
  • Look up before raising an irrigation pipe. Farm workers have been electrocuted because they raised a length of pipe into overhead lines.
  • Check for overhead lines before picking produce from trees. Don't pick from trees that are in contact with a power line. Trees can be excellent conductors of electricity.
  • When picking produce, don't stand on metal ladders or use metal-poled knockers and other tools. Metal equipment conducts electricity and can cause an accident if they come into contact with power lines.

If you have any questions about proper safety techniques or want more information about safety hazards, call (602) 236-8117.

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