Review these tips with coworkers at your tailgate or tool box meetings before work begins to help avoid potential hazards when working near overhead and underground power lines.
Look Up and Live
- Carefully examine the site for overhead power lines, poles, and guy wires, and point them out to coworkers. Take extra care to look for lines that may be masked by foliage or otherwise blocked from view.
- Consider all overhead power lines to be energized and potentially dangerous, including the service lines that run from utility poles to buildings.
- Mark a safety boundary to keep workers, tools, and equipment a safe distance away—at least 10 feet—from power lines. As voltage increases, clearance distances also increase. Call Westar Energy at 800-383-1183 for specific safety clearance requirements.
- Designate a spotter whose only job is to watch your equipment and make sure you maintain the mandatory safety clearances.
- Make sure 811 is called at least two business days in advance of any digging job, no matter how small. Your call arranges for us and other utility owners to locate and mark buried lines. Before you call, delineate your dig area with white paint, flags, or stakes.
- Hand dig to verify marked lines. Colored flags and paint marks show you the approximate location of utility lines, but not how deep they are buried. Before you can safely work near a buried line, you must first hand dig to expose the line and verify its exact location and depth.
- Respect the marks, and dig with care. For your safety, do not use power-digging equipment within 2 feet of either side of marked utility lines. Hand dig with a rounded shovel, using a gentle prying motion to break away soil as you approach the utility laterally.
Would You Like to Know More?
Additional overhead and digging guidelines, case studies, instructional videos, and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you, on Westar Energy’s e-SMARTworkers website.
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