Spanish Fork Power and Light is committed to the safety of all of our customers, including homeowners and those in construction-related jobs. We offer the following tips to keep you and your co-workers safe on the job.
The 15-Foot Circle of Safety
Keep everything – you, the tools and materials you are handling, and the equipment you are operating – at least 15-feet away from all power lines. This 15-foot space is referred as the “Fifteen-Foot Circle of Safety.” Ten feet is the minimum required distance you have when working near power lines of 50,000 volts or less. Not only is this an important safety rule, it is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation and it is the law. Those caught violating the Circle of Safety can be fined. Spanish Fork Electrical Division has taken this Safety Circle and increased it to Fifteen feet, we feel that this extra
five feet gives you just that much more room if you are working on top of buildings or in aerial equipment.
If you cannot get your work done without getting within 15-feet of a power line, immediately contact us at 801-804-4629. We will work with you to help ensure that your work is done safely.
Always have your underground utilities (electric, gas, etc.) located before digging to avoid making contact with them. To locate underground lines, call Blue Stakes at 1-800-662-4111 at least two working days before you plan to dig, so your utility lines can be marked. If original markings are destroyed due to weather or heavy construction, call back to have the area re-marked.
Working Around Power Lines Higher Than 50,000 Volts
If the voltage is higher than 50,000 volts, even more distance from the wires is required for safety. However, higher voltage can be difficult to recognize. If you are working around power lines you suspect are higher than 50,000 volts, take extra precaution.
- Check with your boss or job superintendent. They should have already determined the voltage of the power lines near heavy equipment or other employee work areas.
- Spanish Fork Electrical Division doesn’t have power lines higher than 50,000 volts on its system, but there are other systems that run through the city limits that meet these higher voltages. If you cannot find out the voltage of the power lines near your job site, contact us for help at 1-801-804-4629.
Heavy Equipment and Power Lines
Careful positioning of heavy equipment is required to ensure safety for workers and equipment operators. The location for heavy equipment, such as cranes, should be planned jointly in advance by Spanish Fork Electrical Division and the contractor. However, even with planning, heavy equipment and work operations may need to be located near high-voltage lines. In this case, use a safety watch (see below). Lines may also need to be de-energized.
A Safety Watch
A watch should be positioned near the heavy equipment the entire time it is being operated near high-voltage lines. The watch's only duties should be observing the work and communicating with the operator, to ensure the equipment never violates the Circle of Safety.
De-energize the Lines
If the equipment must operate within the Circle of Safety, Spanish Fork Electrical Division must be contacted on proper safety precautions before starting work. The lines can be de-energized or grounded or other proactive measures can be taken.
Tools, Equipment and Other Conductive Materials
Heavy equipment isn’t the only threat to the Fifteen-Foot Circle of Safety. Lengthy tools such as bull float handles, rebar and long sections of metal conduit are just a few of the conductive objects that can break the Circle of Safety when used near power lines. Always remember, the Fifteen- Foot Circle of Safety means not just 15 feet of clearance from you but from anything you may be carrying or working with.
If Contact Occurs
If contact does occur, follow these guidelines:
- If you are in your vehicle or equipment, stay put. This is your safest option until help arrives.
- Warn others to stay away from the area until emergency and energy personal have arrived to turn off the power.
- If you are on the ground stay on the ground – and stay away. Coming close to the energized lines or equipment can only increase the danger.
- If you can move the equipment away from the lines safely, move it. If not, you should stay put until the lines can be de-energized.
- If you must leave the vehicle because of fire or some other life-threatening situation, Jump, with both feet together. Hop with both feet together until you’re safely away. Never step down or touch the ground and the piece of equipment at the same time, or you could be electrocuted.
- If the line has fallen on the ground, or on some other object or piece of equipment, always assume it is energized, stay clear and contact us immediately. During business hours (7:00am to 4:30 pm Monday – Friday) call 1-801-804-4430 after hours call 1-801-437-9824
The best way to avoid injury from power lines is to make a personal commitment to safety. All the rules, regulations and safety reminders in the world are useless unless they’re used.
Your commitment should be consistent and ongoing, and it should be based on the following principle:
The most valuable resource of any job at any time is never the materials, the equipment, the profit or the deadline. The most valuable resource, without exception, is always human life.
Take measures to protect equipment inside your home by considering Surge Protectors.