Florida Power & Light Company (FPL): Working Safely Near Power Lines
 

Working Safely Near Power Lines

 

 

At FPL, safety is a cornerstone of our commitment to our customers, our employees, and those working in the community. We urge anyone who is working near power lines to work safely to avoid serious injuries, save lives, and prevent property damage.

Coming into contact with a power line can be dangerous – even deadly. That’s why we launched the FPL Safety 6 program more than a decade ago to alert our business customers and their employees to these dangers. The program features six key safety rules to follow when working around power lines. It includes U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations listing minimum safe distances from power lines for workers and equipment.

Besides addressing worker safety, Safety 6 materials help businesses adhere to OSHA regulations, reduce insurance premiums, and control injury-related costs.

 

 

 

Always follow these Safety 6 rules to prevent the most common mistakes near power lines.

1. Work at a safe distance

This is the most important rule: Work at a safe distance from all power lines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that equipment be kept at least 10 feet away from power lines with voltages up to 50kV. For lines with voltages higher than 50kV, the required distance is even greater (see below). When uncertain of a power line’s voltage, stay 20 feet away for voltages up to 350 kV and 50 feet away for voltages greater than 350kV. Cranes and derricks are required to take additional steps before beginning work (see OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1926.1400 effective Nov. 8, 2010). Call FPL at 1-800-375-4375 or your local electric utility to identify the voltage of power lines before you begin working. If you witness a violation of this rule, stay away from the equipment and warn the operator to move away from the power line.


FPL Power Line Voltages

OSHA Minimum Approach Distance*
(OSHA 1926.1408 Table A)

0 to 50kV

10 feet

Over 50kV to 200kV

15 feet

Over 200kV to 350kV

20 feet

Over 350kV to 500kV

25 feet

Over 500kV to 750kV

35 feet

*Minimum distance for travel under power lines must comply with OSHA Rules.

 

2. Stay calm, stay away

When operating a piece of equipment that contacts a power line

You should:

If you are not in danger from fire or from being struck by a power line

  • Stay where you are.
  • Move the equipment away from the power line, if possible.
  • Warn others not to approach the equipment.
  • Call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) or your local electric utility for assistance.

If you are in danger and must get off the equipment

  • Jump as far away from the equipment as you can and land with both feet together. (No part of your body should touch the equipment and the ground at the same time.)
  • Hop or shuffle away from the equipment with your feet together to reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • Once clear, do not return to the equipment until FPL declares it safe.
  • Call 911 and/or call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) or your local electric utility.

If a fellow worker is in danger

  • Stay away.
  • Warn fellow workers to stay away.
  • Call 911 and/or call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) or your local electric utility.

 

3. Ladders and lines don’t mix

Before you begin working, look up and note the location of power lines. You can be seriously hurt or killed if the object you are holding or standing on contacts a power line.

  • Before raising or extending any equipment capable of reaching a power line, check in all directions for power lines.
  • Keep a safe distance from any power line, measuring from the end or tip of your own extended reach and including the end or tip of any object you are holding or carrying. Remember to allow even greater distance for safety near higher voltage lines such as transmission lines.
  • Even nonmetallic ladders and equipment can conduct electricity.

 

 

4. Call before you dig

One easy call to 811 starts the process of getting underground utility lines marked for free.

  • Utility company locators will mark the approximate location and type of underground utilities with paint and flags.
  • To avoid costly repairs and construction delays, be sure to contact Sunshine State One Call of Florida at 811 or 1-800-432-4770 at least two full business days in advance of any excavation work.* Visit www.CallSunshine.com for more information.

*In accordance with the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Chapter 556, Florida Statutes.

 

 

5. Look up and live

Look up when working around overhead power lines, especially when trees are nearby. Branches can hide power lines from view.

  • Look up for power lines when using tools of any kind. Even nonmetallic tools can conduct electricity.
  • Cranes and derricks that approach working distance within 20 feet of power lines with operating voltages up to 350 kV, or within 50 feet of power lines with voltages greater than 350 kv, are mandated to take “encroachment prevention measures.” See OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1926.1400.
  • Look up for power lines when putting up scaffolding, framing a building, painting, pruning trees or picking fruit.
  • Trees can conduct electric current. Before moving a tree under a power line, look up and determine the overhead clearance from the top of the tree. Keep a safe distance away as required by OSHA.
  • Look up for power lines when working on top of buildings.
  • Before transporting large boats or large objects, identify a safe route that avoids power lines. If you cannot avoid power lines, please call 1-800-375-4375 to coordinate transport and temporary removal* or de-energizing of FPL power lines.

* Charges may apply for temporary removal or relocation of power lines. You may need to coordinate transportation of oversized objects with local authorities.

 

 

6. Downed lines can be deadly

Always assume that any downed power line is energized, and stay away.

  • Do not touch or attempt to move any power line.
  • Call 911 and 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) or your local electric utility immediately.
  • If a fellow worker touches a downed line or is handling equipment that contacts a power line, remember that any rescue attempt places you in danger.
  • If you must rescue a person in contact with a power line, never use your hands. Use a dry, nonconductive object to move the person to safety.

 

Important contact information

Call 911 for any emergency.

Call 1-800-4 OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) to report contact with power lines, downed power lines or an outage.

Call 811 before you dig.

Call 1-800-375-4375 for identification of power line voltage or help with safe transportation of large boats or other large objects.

To order more copies of this poster and/or the Safety 6 Brochure, call 1-800-375-2434.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration: www.OSHA.gov