Working near overhead power lines

SRP Safety Connection LogoAccidents involving contact with overhead power lines not only can damage equipment, but also cause serious injuries and even death.

If your job requires you to work near overhead power lines -- installing antennas, pruning trees or operating cranes, for example -- please exercise caution at all times.

The Arizona Legislature enacted the Overhead Powerline Safety Law to make working near overhead power lines safer. Please familiarize yourself with the law as it establishes safety standards that can prevent accidents.

Also, be sure you know what to do if someone comes into contact with an energized power line. Helping you stay safe around power lines is an important part of SRP's Safety Connection program.

Overhead line safety precautions

Please remember the following safety guidelines when working near overhead power lines:

  • Keep a safe distance between yourself and power lines. Ten feet is generally considered the minimum safe distance.
  • Before you begin working, check carefully for overhead power lines in the area you will be working. Don't assume that wires are telephone or cable lines: check with your electric utility for advice.
  • If you need to cut a tree branch, be sure that it won't fall into power lines. Should a branch fall into our lines, call us at (602) 236-8888 to remove it.
  • Even if a power line appears to be broken or grounded, keep your distance. The line could still be energized. Contact with an energized line can injure or kill.
  • When working with ladders, make sure they can't come into contact with power lines in case they fall over.
  • Work only in good weather. Thunderstorms, rain, winds and damp or icy ground can cause you to lose control and come into contact with power lines.
  • Although overhead power lines may appear to be insulated, often these coverings are intended only to protect metal wires from weather conditions and may not protect you from electric shock.

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Installing antennas

  • Before you begin installing an antenna, read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them carefully. They can warn you of potential installation and removal hazards.
  • Be careful not to install antennas too close to overhead lines. SRP recommends they be installed no closer than twice the length of the assembled antenna.
  • If your antenna can be rotated once it is installed, be sure it can't be twisted into or around nearby power lines.
  • Covered antennas or non-metallic guy wires may not provide protection against electric shock. Keep all equipment away from power lines.

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Working on a farm

  • Before driving high profile equipment (e.g., cranes, harvesters, ladders) under power lines, made sure adequate clearance is available.
  • Look up before raising irrigation pipe. Farm workers have been electrocuted because they raised a length of pipe into overhead lines.
  • Be sure to check for overhead lines before picking produce from trees. Don't pick from trees that are in contact with a power line. Trees can be excellent conductors of electricity.
  • When picking produce, don't stand on metal ladders or use metal-poled knockers and other tools. Metal equipment conducts electricity and can cause an accident if they come into contact with power lines.

If you have any questions about proper safety techniques, or want more information about safety hazards, call (602) 236-8117.

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