Power Line Safety

With safety at the heart of all we do, we want to make sure everyone in our communities is aware of what it means to work safely around overhead and underground power lines. Contact with power lines is very dangerous and can cause serious injury or death. Anytime anyone has to work near power lines, it’s important to take the time to plan the work and ensure all workers are properly trained and prepared.

Plan before you start

For your own safety and that of everyone around you, be sure to carefully plan your work to prevent contact with overhead and underground power lines.

Identify overhead power lines

Check the area before starting any work to identify any overhead power lines. Call us at 1.888.737.1296 so that we can arrange to have the power lines de-energized, barricaded, or moved from the work site if necessary.

Identify underground cables

If you plan on using drilling or trenching equipment, call us at 1.888.737.1296 before you dig so that we can identify any underground cable locations.

Work to prevent electrical injuries and outages

Review the locations and potential hazards of overhead power lines and underground cables with everyone on the work site to ensure they’re all aware of the dangers of coming into contact with electrical equipment. Careful planning not only saves lives but can also help our communities avoid the inconvenience of a power outage.

Always maintain a safe distance from power lines

Specific requirements for maintaining clearances and providing worker training are covered under the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Newfoundland and Labrador Regulation 70/09.

  • As a general rule, you should always stay 15 metres (49 feet) away from downed power lines, exposed underground cables, or equipment operating around power lines.
  • Provincial regulations require that workers maintain a safe distance of 5.5 metres from energized equipment. Special permits are required when working closer than 5.5 metres from energized power lines.
  • Operators of equipment that can come into contact with overhead or underground power lines must attend an approved Power Line Hazards safety course.

We recommend specific clearances from overhead power lines depending on their location and voltage level. If you’re unsure of the recommended clearance to safely complete a particular job, call us at 1.888.737.1296 before starting any work near power lines.

Pay attention to projects that require particular attention

Not all projects have the same level of danger. Here are a few examples of when it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to overhead power lines and underground cables:

  • When using machinery and equipment: To ensure that you’re safely within the recommended clearance guidelines, proceed with caution when operating large machinery or equipment to avoid coming into contact with overhead power lines.
  • When unloading equipment: Be aware of the location of power lines when loading or unloading equipment. Ensure the dump/boom body of all machinery is down before leaving the work site.
  • When building a shed: Ensure that the top of the shed or storage unit is built at a safe distance from power lines. Call us at 1.888.737.1296 to find out where your shed should be built in relation to the power lines in your area.
  • When planting and trimming trees: Trees are good conductors of electricity. When they grow too close to power lines or come into contact with high-voltage power lines, they can cause public safety risks, fires, and power outages. To stay safe, carefully plan any landscaping projects, keeping in mind the height and shape of the mature tree so that you won’t have a problem once it’s fully grown. Trees that are planted too close to power lines might have to be trimmed or removed later. Call us at 1.888.737.1296 if you have questions or concerns about vegetation near power lines or if you notice a tree that poses a potential hazard.
  • When removing or cutting power lines: Moving or cutting power lines can be extremely dangerous. If your job requires you to remove or cut power lines or poles, please call us at 1.888.737.1296 to ensure you have permission and that the line and electricity equipment have been de-energized.
  • When drilling or trenching: It’s important to call us at 1.888.737.1296 before you start to dig so that we can identify any underground cables in the worksite location. Ensure that you place signage to mark the location of all buried electrical equipment.
  • When clearing snow: Take care when clearing snow around electricity lines, poles, and guy wires. High snow piles can reduce the ability to clearly identify overhead power lines and poles.

What to do in event of an emergency

In a life-threatening situation or when there is a risk of fire, call 9-1-1 immediately. If there is no immediate risk, call our emergency line at 1.888.737.1296 to shut off the power.

  • If a vehicle is involved in an accident with electrical lines, poles, or a transformer, treat the vehicle as energized. Unless there is a risk of fire, the driver should stay inside the vehicle until help has arrived. If you must exit the vehicle, jump clear of your vehicle with your feet together and shuffle away keeping both feet close together. Never contact the ground and the vehicle at the same time. To view a video outlining what to do if your vehicle comes into contact with a downed power line, click here.
  • If someone else receives an electrical shock, do not touch that person if they are still in contact with the source of electricity. The electricity will travel from their body into yours.
  • If you see a downed power line, stay back 15 metres (49 feet) and call us at 1.888.737.1296 immediately. If your equipment has made contact with an electricity line, do not attempt to remove the equipment or the line yourself. Wait for us to arrive.