Overhead Power Lines Safety

Overhead Power Lines

Overhead power lines at construction sites can be particularly dangerous for construction workers, especially when equipment such as cranes, cherrypickers, and high lifts are used at the site.

Here is an Example

Lawrence was part of a crew that was installing steel roof beams on a school building using a boom crane. He was standing by the joists, waiting to hook the beams to the chain slings, when the crane operator swung the slings toward him. The slings touched the power line, became energized, and sent electricity through Lawrence. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

  1. Do you know anyone who was injured or electrocuted when a crane contacted an overhead power line? If so, what happened?
  2. Could an electrocution involving a crane and power line happen at your worksite?

Preventing Electrocutions from Overhead Power Lines

  • Request that all power lines be de-energized if possible. If not make sure they are properly booted and insulated
  • Keep cranes and loads at least 10 feet from power lines
  • Make sure crane is grounded
  • Use only non-conductive tag lines
  • Operate equipment at a slower than normal rate when close to power lines. Use a spotter to keep the boom and load at a safe distance from power lines
  • Be careful when around spans of overhead power lines, since wind can cause power lines to sway sideways and reduce the clearance between the crane and power lines
  • Mark safe routes where machines must repeatedly travel beneath power lines
  • Exercise caution when traveling over uneven ground that could cause the machine to weave or bob into power lines
  • Keep all personnel well away from the machine whenever it is close to power lines