Safety When Working Near Overhead Power Lines 

Overhead power lines are an important part of our infrastructure, but they can also be dangerous. If you’re working in close proximity to overhead power lines, it’s imperative to take precautions to stay safe.

Dangers of working near overhead power lines 

  • High voltage electricity: If you contact a live power line, you may be electrocuted. Even if you don’t touch the line directly, you can still be electrocuted if you touch something which is in contact with the line, such as a tree branch or a ladder. 
  • Fire: If a power line is accidentally cut, it can cause a fire. 
  • Explosion: If a power line comes into contact with flammable materials, it can cause an explosion. 
  • Injury from falling objects: If a power line falls, it can bring down trees, poles, and other objects. 


How to stay safe when working near overhead power lines 

  • Assume that all power lines are live. Even if the lines are not glowing or arcing, they may still be carrying electricity. 
  • Never touch a power line, even if it appears to be dead. If you’re not sure whether a line is live, call your local utility company to have it checked. 
  • Stay away from power lines. The minimum safe distance from overhead power lines varies depending on the voltage of the line. For most residential power lines, the minimum safe distance is 10 feet. For higher voltage lines, the safe distance may be greater. 
  • Don’t use ladders or other equipment near power lines. If you must work near power lines, use equipment that has been specifically designed for use in high voltage areas. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re working near power lines, be aware of any trees or other objects that could fall if a power line is accidentally cut. 
  • If you see a downed power line, stay away from it and call the emergency services immediately. Do not try to touch the line or move it. 


Additional safety tips for specific work activities: 

  • Tree trimming: If you’re trimming trees near overhead power lines, be sure to contact your local utility company before you start work. The utility company will be able to mark the location of the power lines and provide you with safety instructions. 
  • Construction: If you’re working on a construction project near overhead power lines, make sure to have a qualified electrician assess the risks and implement a safe work plan. 
  • Grazing: If you have livestock that grazes near overhead power lines, make sure to take steps to keep them away from the lines. You can do this by fencing off the area around the lines or using electric fencing. 


By following these safety tips, you can help to protect yourself and others from the dangers of overhead power lines. 

The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on a wide range of EHS topics 
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Risk assessment templates covering electrical safety 
  • Management system to document control the policy on electrical safety 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of work activity working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on electrical safety when using work equipment 
  • Incident investigation module that tracks incidents involving power lines both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding electrical safety when using work equipment to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 




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