Keep Your Distance

If you work with dump trucks, bucket trucks, cranes, excavators, backhoes, ladders, or other equipment with a long reach, chances are you are working dangerously close to overhead or underground power lines.

Power lines as well as the surrounding air space which insulates the line can be hazardous. While it is obvious that you should not touch a power line, operating equipment too close to a power line is risky too.

The fact is, you or your equipment can attract electricity without even touching the wire itself. Electricity can arc or “jump" through the insulating space between a wire and a conducting object like a truck or a ladder. The higher the voltage, the more likely it is for an arc to occur. Keeping a safe distance away saves lives.

efore you start work, be sure you and your co-workers know where all the power lines are, above and below the ground. Consider them energized and dangerous.

Where necessary, arrange to have power lines covered up or for them to be temporarily disconnected. For our overhead power lines,
contact us. For underground power lines, Click Before You Dig.


Follow Our Safe Distance Recommendations

Keep at least three metres away from all power lines.

Know safe limits:
  • 750 to 150,000 volts - 3 metres

  • 150,001 to 250,000 volts - 4.5 metres

  • 250,001+ volts - 6 metres

Even power lines carrying less than 750 volts can be hazardous. Avoid touching them or coming too close.

Avoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If it must be stored there, hang warning signs to prevent other workers from using hoisting equipment to move or lift it. 
Before moving ladders, rolling scaffolds, or elevating work platforms, always check for overhead lines.

What to do if you are operating equipment that contacts a power line:
Stay Where You Are
  • Another wrong move may result in a serious injury or fatality

  • The equipment (and you) may now be at the same electrical potential as the power line and there may be a current flowing through to the ground. Do not touch anything outside the equipment. You might create another path to the ground for the electrical current.

  • Warn others to stay at least 10 metres away

Call Us
  • Have someone contact us to get help. Also call 911 or the emergency responders in your area.

If You Must Get Out
  • Only as a last resort, if you must get off the equipment due to fire or other hazards, you must do so without touching the equipment and the ground at the same time.

  • Jump about 45 cm to 60 cm away from the equipment, landing with feet together and arms close to your body

  • Keep your feet together (touching) and shuffle at least 10 metres away. Your heels should never pass your toes.

  • When a power line has fallen, always consider it to be energized

  • Stay back at least 10 metres

  • Rescue can only be attempted safely by a person trained to use special live-line tools. Never attempt a rescue if you are untrained. 

Safety is our top priority. 


When you are working at or near power lines it is important to take the necessary safety precautions. 

When in doubt, call us at: