Look Up and Look Out
August 31, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. - Summer to early fall is a time when contractors can get work done. But much of this work can be dangerous if it requires working near power lines or with other electrical equipment. Electrocution is the fourth leading cause of death in the construction industry. Approximately 350 electric shock fatalities occur each year on construction sites, nationally. Pacific Power asks contractors to take precautions while working with electrical equipment in order to avoid potentially fatal situations.
“Electricity is vital to everyday lives- just as vital as being safe and alert. It’s also incredibly dangerous if the necessary precautions are not taken,” said Gene Morris, Pacific Power safety director. “Preparation is the best way to avoid serious injury or death from accidental electrical contact.”
Contractors and others working around electricity should take these precautions for their own safety and the safety of others:
Be aware of your surroundings. Point out the location of power lines during daily work crew briefings. Look for overhead power lines and buried power line indicators.
Call before you dig. An underground power line can be just as dangerous as an overhead line. Call 811 at least 48 hours prior to excavating to have underground utilities located. If original markings are unclear due to weather or heavy construction, call to have the area remarked.
Maintain a circle of safety. Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines. Keep all tools, materials and the equipment away from power lines. Cranes and derricks must be at least 20 feet away.
Appoint a safety watch person. Equipment operators are often not able to safely judge the distance from equipment to overhead power lines. Each group should have a designated safety watch person to keep personnel and equipment a safe distance from overhead power lines.
Plan ahead. Contact Pacific Power in advance of starting the work, to assist in siting appropriate locations for heavy equipment, such as cranes.
De-energize the lines. If equipment must operate within the minimum operating distance of 10 feet, contact Pacific Power toll free at 1-888-221-7070. Power lines may be able to be de-energized or grounded while work is being completed.
- Know how to handle emergencies. If a line has fallen on the ground or on a piece of equipment, always assume it is energized. Stay clear and keep others away. If you must move by the downed line, hop away with both feet together. And always contact both 911 and Pacific Power at 1-888-221-7070.
For safety materials or to schedule a free safety presentation, call Pacific Power at 1-800-375-7085 or visit pacificpower.net/safety. For all other information, including safety assistance around power lines, call toll free at 1-888-221-7070.
About Pacific Power
Pacific Power is headquartered in Portland, and provides electric service to more than 730,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. It is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the U.S., providing approximately 1.7 million customers with reliable, efficient energy. The company works to meet growing energy demand while protecting and enhancing the environment. For more information, visit the website at www.pacificpower.net.