Powerline Safety At Work
Watch how a dump truck touching an overhead powerline can cause a life-changing chain reaction for everyone on the job site. What you learn from this video could actually save your life, or the lives of your co-workers. Keep reading below to learn more about what can happen when 44,000 volts of power are accidentally unleashed.
Powerline Contact with a Vehicle
When a powerline comes in contact with a vehicle, it can energize the outside metal shell. If the driver stays inside the cab and doesn’t touch the outside shell until the power is turned off, he or she can avoid electrocution. But remember, the ground surrounding the vehicle can also be energized, so anyone who is too close -- within 10 metres of the vehicle -- is at risk.
It’s essential that workers know what to do in the event of a powerline contact, including staying in the vehicle until the power is turned off, calling 911 right away, and making sure everyone else on the site, including emergency first responders, stay at least 10 metres back until the utility worker on site can confirm that the power has been shut off.
Limits of Approach
Did you know that you don’t need to have direct contact with a powerline to be in danger? Electricity can jump or “arc” from a powerline to you or your equipment if you get too close. These are the minimum distances you must keep from powerlines, known as the Limits of Approach*:
|Powerline Voltage||Minimum Distance|
|750 - 150,000 volts||3 metres (10 feet)|
|150,000 - 250,000 volts||4.5 metres (15 feet)|
|more than 250,000 volts||6 metres (20 feet)|
*Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ont. Reg. 213/91 Construction Projects