Do you need our help?

If it is a safety emergency dial 999 and ask for the police, they will contact the electrical distribution company responsible for the network in your area. If you have noticed damage to our network, stay well away and contact us using the methods below.

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Plan ahead

To plan you’ll need to confirm: 

  • The type of work you intend to carry out (excavations, crane lifting, ploughing, spraying, etc.); 
  • The maximum height and vertical reach of the machinery you intend to use; 
  • How close to the line you intend to be working and whether there will be plant travelling or working under the line; 
  • The line type, voltage, and height. 

You should always seek professional advice when working near our network. No operations should be carried out within a horizontal distance of at least 9 metres from power lines or at least 15 meters from lines on metal towers.

Image of SSEN engineers using tablet to plan works

Reduce the risks

The risk of an accident can be significantly reduced by:

  • Not folding sprayer booms on the move. Consider having a designated safe area away from Overhead Power Lines so that booms, or other high-risk activity, can be carried out safely. 
  • Make sure an experienced banksman or slinger is present when machinery is operated near overhead lines. 

  • Not steadying suspended loads unless you are satisfied you are nowhere near an overhead line. 

  • Erecting barriers that machines have to pass beneath which can be limited to a safe height. 

  • Creating alternative access points and routes. 

Image of tractor using extendable arm to remove haybale from lorry at height

Emergency action

Should machinery come into contact with an overhead line, take the following action:

  • Never touch an overhead line, even if it has been brought down by machinery, or has fallen. Do not assume it is dead.
  • When a machine is in contact with an overhead line, anyone who touches both the machine and the ground can be electrocuted. Stay in the machine and lower raised parts in contact, or drive the machine out of the lines if you can.
  • If you need to get out, to summon help or because of fire, don’t climb out in the usual way, jump out as far as possible, without touching the wires or the machine, and don’t touch any part of the machine when on the ground.
  • Call our emergency number and ask us to disconnect the supply. Even if the line appears dead, do not touch it; automatic switching may reconnect the power.
Image of a damaged electricity pole due to a vehicle coming into contact with it

Download the Health & Safety Executive leaflet for further guidance

Helpful resources

Take a look at our helpful resources and useful advice to help you stay safe when working or playing near our equipment as well as links to industry recognised safety videos.

Find out more