High-Voltage Power Line Safety Risks and Approaches, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on high-voltage power lines and the proper safety approaches to take when near them. Whether your business is located near such lines or you’re performing contract work in such an area, ensuring the right precautions are taken is vital to not only safety, but also maintaining the quality of the power lines in question.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to provide a wide variety of commercial electrical services, from minor repairs and maintenance areas to electrical installations and builds. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll evaluate how anyone in situations where they’re close to a high-voltage power line should evaluate the hazards present, plus some of our top safety recommendations for working or staying safe in these locations.

high-voltage power line safety

Distance

As we noted in part one of our series, distance is a primary safety factor when dealing with high-voltage power lines. It’s also one of the easiest precautions to take: It’s simple to set up a basic boundary around all high-voltage lines, ensuring no one crosses into unsafe territory.

How large should this boundary be? The answer depends on the voltage present in the area. Some general voltage ranges (using nominal, phase-to-phase voltage), plus the OSHA minimum distances from any exposed energized parts (including overhead power lines), include:

  • Under 50,000 volts: 10 feet or more
  • 50,000-200,000 volts: 15 feet or more
  • Over 200,000 volts: 20 feet or more

People, machinery and even crops should all be kept at these distances or more. If you do not know the voltage of a given power line, we recommend assuming the higher range and keeping at least 20 feet of distance until you know for sure.

Insulation and Objects

Another important piece of knowledge here is that, generally speaking, high-voltage electrical power lines are not insulated. This means electricity can travel not only through the lines themselves, but may also enter the air and even charge objects that are close by.

This means that not only should the wires themselves never be touched, great care should be taken around other nearby items. Even parking certain machinery too close to a line could present significant shock or electrocution risks.

Tree Safety

If your business is located near a high-voltage power line, we strongly recommend against trimming or otherwise working on trees in the area. Trees can absolutely carry electrical current, meaning you should only call trained professionals for these needs. If you find a tree on your property has fallen into a high-voltage power line, call you power company and our team right away.

For more on staying safe around high-voltage power lines, or to learn about any of our electrical contractors or services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.