Contacts with high voltage equipment continue to be a major concern

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Electrical Contact Prevention Working Group is expressing major concern over the number of contacts with electrical equipment and infrastructure. This is a serious issue which has the potential to seriously harm someone or cause death.

As of the end of July this year,  our utility partner Newfoundland Power recorded 40 incidents involving power lines or power line infrastructure, and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) recorded 15 incidents within their service territory.

Over the last two years, both utilities recorded more than 120 public incidents. The majority of these have involved contractors using equipment such as booms, cranes, tractor trailers, excavators, snow clearing equipment, dump trucks, scaffolds and ladders.

Specific requirements for maintaining clearances and providing worker training are mandated by the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Special permits are required from the utility to work closer than 5.5m from an energized power line. Operators of equipment with the capability of encroaching on or contacting overhead or underground power lines must complete a Commission approved Power Line Hazards safety course.

The Working Group wants to remind contractors and the general public that working around electricity requires their complete and undivided attention. Accidents can be prevented with proper planning, worksite evaluation and adhering to safe distances.

The group was formed in 2012 with a common goal: to eliminate electrical contacts made by contractors and the general public working around energized power lines. Through ongoing safety awareness and industry education, they are collectively committed to helping foster a long-term culture of power line safety in Newfoundland and Labrador.

It consists of members from Newfoundland Power, Hydro, Bell Aliant, the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association (NLCSA), Service NL, the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Association (NLCA), The Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL), Operating Engineers College, Heavy Civil Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (HCANL), and the Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission.

Download the full press release here:  Power Line Safety 2015

For more info on working around power lines, see here