Overhead power lines

Electricity – overhead power lines

The law says that any work near electric overhead power lines must be carefully planned and carried out to avoid danger from accidental contact or close proximity to the lines.

The precautions necessary will depend on the nature of the work at the site and will be required even when work near the line is of short duration.

Safety can be achieved by a combination of measures:

  • Planning and preparation
  • Eliminating the danger
  • Controlling the access
  • Controlling the work

Contact with live overhead lines kills people and causes serious injuries every year. Work involving long or high plant or equipment e.g. excavators, MEWPs, scaffold poles, tipper vehicles and cranes, presents a particularly high risk.


  • contact with a power line is not necessary for danger. Close approach to live conductors may allow a ‘flashover’
  • contact can be lethal with voltages as low as 230V
  • do not mistake overhead power lines on wooden poles for telephone wires
  • electric current can flow through wood or plastic (if damp or dirty) and cause fatal shocks

Further information can be found here



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