Electric Safety for Contractors
How to keep your client's property safe from electrical issues
Look up and be aware
Know before you begin
- Note where power lines are located before you get started on a project.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from a power line if you're working with ladders, antennas, irrigation pipes, long-handled tools like tree pruners or other items. (It's federal law.)
- Increase that distance an additional .4 inch for every 1,000 volts over 50,000.
- Use someone as a spotter when you operate a backhoe, crane or other heavy construction equipment.
- Don't assume a telephone or cable line on the ground is safe to move. It can be energized from somewhere else.
Ask us to shut off service service while you work, and learn the voltage of a line. Call us at (800) 227-9187.
Learn more about excavator safety near natural gas and electric lines.
When trees get in the way
- Don't try to handle tree branches tangled in our transmission or distribution lines.
- The 10 feet rule applies if you do bring out a ladder or long-handled tool to prune a tree.
- It's the homeowner’s responsibility to keep branches clear of power lines in their own yards.
Use a professional tree trimmer to clear tree branches away from power lines.
What to do if you hit a power line while in equipment.
- Don’t panic if you’re operating equipment that contacts a line.
- Stay in the vehicle or on the equipment until an Avista representative arrives and determines it's safe to exit.
- Warn others to stay away.
- If you must exit before Avista arrives, safely jump as far away from the vehicle or equipment as you can. Land with both feet together and shuffle away from the site. Be sure no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time.
- Don’t return to the vehicle until someone from Avista says it’s safe.
- Never attempt to rescue someone else in the same situation.
Consider any contact with a power line an emergency situation, and call Avista right away.