Over the years I have learned that lots of folks know very little about electricity and not enough about safety when dealing with electricity. I will mention some things about overhead power lines. First, and this is basic, we should be very careful in relation to overhead power lines. The placement of different types of overhead lines on poles is governed by the National Electric Safety Code. Electric supply lines are placed in the upper area of the pole. Lines carrying the highest amount of energy or highest voltage are placed near the top of the pole with lower voltage lines placed below. Often a shield or static wire is strung above these lines to protect them from a lightning strike. Below the electric supply lines is a neutral space that separates the electric supply space from the communications space. This area protects communication workers from higher energy lines. The communication space consists of telephone, cable TV, fiber, and signal lines.
OSHA provides the following safety tips concerning overhead lines and equipment:
• Electric hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution which results in death.
• Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages.
• Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.
• Never touch a fallen overhead power line.
• Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines.
• Stay at least ten feet (three meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities.
• If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
• If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. But if the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. You should call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
There also some recommendations for persons who are required to work around electricity. Some of them are just plain common sense, but need to be mentioned.
• Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.
• Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.
• Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
• If working in damp locations, inspect electrical cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
• Finally, never forget this – you must always use extreme caution when working near electricity.
It is my hope that these recommendations will make you aware of the dangers of electricity and help you avoid serious problems.
Source: Robson Forensic
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