Whether you’re trimming trees and plants for beautification, tree health, or reducing potential electrical hazards and power interruptions, always look up and look out for overhead powerlines before you start, and take the proper safety precautions. Always be aware of your surroundings whether working above ground or below it.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Aluminum ladders, or ladders with aluminum parts, will act as conductors of electricity if they contact overhead powerlines. Even wooden ladders can contain metal and lead to a shock if contact occurs with a powerline.
To avoid the risk of powerline contact, be sure to look up! Always be aware of overhead powerlines when using ladders, and carry your ladder horizontally, preferably with another person to help.
Overhead powerlines can be hidden by foliage. Tree trimming tools that contact a powerline can result in electrocution. Look closely to identify overhead powerlines running through trees and ensure that you and your tools are at least three metres away from powerlines at all times.
Aerial Lifts and Buckets
Aerial lifts can come in contact with overhead powerlines – especially when working around trees where powerlines may not be in clear view.
Always look up! Check for overhead powerlines and ensure clearance when operating aerial lift equipment and bucket trucks. Keep equipment more than three metres away from powerlines. If the lift or bucket does come into contact with a powerline, remember that the ground around it can become energized and can cause a deadly shock to anyone who gets too close. Stay in the bucket until the power has been shut off and call 911 right away. Don’t let anyone come within 10 metres of you and the lift, including first responders, until a utility worker on site can confirm the power has been turned off.