High-Voltage Power Line Safety Risks and Approaches, Part 1

Safety is a top priority when working on or operating near any significant electrical line or power source, particularly high-voltage sources. Failing to take basic precautions puts you and others at major risk in these situations, plus may also threaten your structures in several ways.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to offer a variety of commercial electrical services to numerous clients, from basic repairs and maintenance to new electrical build-outs, lighting installations and several other solutions. Whether your building is located near a high-voltage power line, your contractors regularly work near such lines or you simply want to increase your knowledge on safety in these circumstances, this two-part blog will focus on both the potential hazards present and the proper approach to take while ensuring no one is put at risk.

high-voltage power line safety

Overhead Risks

The visible part of high-voltage power lines, located overhead and often several stories above the ground, also serve as some of the primary hazards present in these areas. Here are some general tips on care and safety approaches in these situations, whether you’re located near such an area or temporarily working in one with contractors:

  • Awareness: First and foremost, being aware of all overhead power lines and equipment is vital. Contractors should be aware of such hazards and the areas they cover.
  • Boundary: Before any work is performed in the area, a proper boundary should be established around the entire perimeter. Voltage under 50,000 volts should be kept 10 feet or more away from, while higher voltages require even further distance (anything over 200,000 requires 20 feet).
  • Line clearance: For those utilizing cranes or other height-related items, it’s important to note that electrical line height above the ground may vary significantly depending on power load and other factors.
  • Spotter and care: When using equipment ranging from ladders and scaffolding to cranes or other pieces of equipment, always have a spotter in place and take great care.
  • Compliance: Ensure you’re complying with all OSHA requirements, plus state and federal regulations, if working near or on high-voltage power lines.

Underground Hazards

They aren’t as visible, but high-voltage power lines also present certain underground hazards to those who are not careful. The primary area of concern here is what are known as counterpoise wires, which are buried and run parallel to the actual transmission line. Counterpoise wires are in place to dissipate stray currents like lightning strikes or others.

If these wires are unintentionally damaged by unsuspecting workers or individuals, however, the entire line’s quality is risked. If such an event takes place, make no attempt to reconnect the wire or solve the issue – rather, call our team of commercial electricians right away and let us handle it for you.

For more on safety and proper precautions around high-voltage power lines, or to learn about any of our commercial electrician services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.