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What you need to know

Accidental contact with live overhead power lines kills people and causes many serious injuries every year. People are also harmed when a person or object gets too close to a line and a flashover occurs.

In Construction Lorry mounted cranes (such as Hiabs or Palingers), Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP’s), scaffold poles, tipper vehicles, cranes, ladders;

In Agriculture combines, sprayer booms, materials handlers, tipper vehicles, ladders, irrigation pipes,
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polytunnels;going close to a live overhead line can result in a flashover that may kill. Touching a power line is not necessary for danger;

voltages lower than 230 volts can kill and injure people;

do not mistake overhead power lines on wooden poles for telephone wires; and

electricity can bypass wood, plastic or rubber, if it is damp or dirty, and cause fatal shocks. Don’t rely on gloves or rubber boots to protect you.

What you need to do

Plan and manage work near electric overhead power lines so that risks from accidental contact or close proximity to the lines are adequately controlled.

Safety precautions will depend on the nature of the work and will be essential even when work near the line is of short duration.

Safety can be achieved by a combination of measures:

Planning and preparation

Eliminating the danger

Controlling the access

Controlling the work

Planning and preparation

The first step is to find out whether there is any overhead power line within or immediately next to the work area, or across any access route.

Information will be available from the local electricity supplier or Distribution Network Operator (DNO). If any overhead lines are found, you should assume that they are live unless proved otherwise by their owners.

If there are any overhead lines over the work area, near the site boundaries, or over access roads to the work area,
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consult the owners of the lines so that the proposed plan of work can be discussed.