In the last five years, there were 1,140 near-miss incidents involving machinery and overhead power lines where serious injury or death was a possibility.In response to the scale of such incidents, Energy Networks Association and GB’s electricity network operators have joined forces to launch Look Out Look Up!
Around five workers every year are killed when the machinery they are operating comes close to, or into contact with, overhead electricity lines. Before you start any work near our overhead lines, please obtain a copy of our network plans which our mapping services team will send to you without charge. You should also get hold of the Health & Safety Executive Guidance 'Avoidance of danger from overhead electric power lines' and follow the advice given. The HSE website has other material you may want to check out.
All overhead lines and other electrical apparatus can be extremely dangerous. If you need to work near them, get competent advice. We will be happy to help. Read our safety leaflets for more advice.Our electricity poles and pylons are usually fitted with a yellow warning sign saying 'Danger of Death'. There should also be warning signs placed near to where any electricity lines are located. Never dismiss the lines as just a telephone wire as it is very difficult to tell telephone and electrical wires apart. We can supply stickers to help remind anyone working near overhead lines to take care and check where the lines are before starting work. To order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure your staff are aware of the dangers from overhead lines, the precautions they need to take and what to do if their machinery comes into contact with a power line.
Make sure warning notices are in the cabs of machines working near overhead lines.
Until we have attended to carry out the disconnection our cable(s) will be live and we strongly recommend that necessary safety precautions are taken to avoid incidents that may lead to injury.
Please note that both cable avoidance tools and safe digging techniques must be employed whilst undertaking any site works as there is the possibility of live cables being present within the vicinity. All cables should be proven dead before commencing work. The following Health and Safety Executive Guidance Notes provide excellent advice on this matter and can be found on the HSE website:
HSG 47: Avoiding Danger from Underground Services
GS 38: Electrical Test Equipment for Use by Electricians
When choosing new machinery:
The following operations should not be carried out within a horizontal distance of at least 9 metres from power lines or at least 15 metres from lines on metal towers:
The risk of an accident can be significantly reduced by:
Should machinery come into contact with an overhead line, take the following action:
Underground services can be extremely dangerous. If damaged, they can cause a dangerous flash, leading to severe burns or even death.
Underground services are commonly found in roads, footpaths and on sites or across open land. If in doubt, always assume they are present and treat any services found anywhere as ‘live’.
Before starting work:
When you start work: