A number of line workers fail to return home each year. They say goodbye to their loved ones only to lose their lives working on or near power lines.
At any given time, these workers are exposed to occupational hazards that can either leave them with paralyzing injuries or prove fatal. According to OSHA, some of these hazards include:
To prevent injuries and fatalities, OSHA recommends the following precautions:
All workers should be trained towork at a safe distance from power lines. According to OSHA regulations, all work equipment should be kept at least 10 feet away from lines that have up to 50kV of electricity running through them. The distance should be higher if the voltage exceeds this amount.
Similarly, workers should maintain a distance of 20 feet from power lines that have 350kV of voltage coursing through them. To determine the exact voltage, you should contact your local electricity provider before commencing operations. In case this rule is violated in any way, operators should be instructed to stay away from the power lines.
Workers should be trained to note the location of the power lines they are working on or near before starting work. If anything they are holding or using touches those lines, they can get killed or sustain serious injuries.
That’s why they should check if the equipment they have is long enough to reach lines and move it away if it can. A greater distance should be maintained near higher voltage lines like transmission lines. In case workers are near transmitters, they should maintain a safe distance till the transmitter is de-energized.
This is necessary to prevent equipment from getting energized enough to electrocute anyone. As such all equipment should be grounded and all tag lines must be non-conductive to prevent injuries or worse.
To keep workers safe near power lines, visual aids should be provided throughout a work site. These will help them determine the distance they should keep from energized lines. For instance, a clear and visible line of paint on the ground, stanchions or fence posts can be used to warn workers to stay away.
Electricity is a powerful force which can prove deadly in untrained hands. Make sure it is handled with care in the workplace by opting for the NFPA 70E standard for electrical safety for workers course.
Students who sign up for the course will learn the safety standards involved in electrical work and their importance in maintaining safety on a work site. This also includes a review of the relationship between OSHA and NFPA 70E.