Where’s the Line

Overhead Powerlines

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Learn the 7-Metre Rule

Overhead powerlines pose a risk to anyone working near them. Any activity within 7 metres of an overhead powerline puts you, and others working nearby, at risk of serious injury or even death.

Most incidents involving overhead power lines occur while equipment is being operated or transported. Even if the equipment doesn’t make direct contact, electricity can arc or “jump” from the power line to any conductive object.

Overhead Asset Notification Pilot

Between November 2023 and October 2024, Utility Safety Partners and a consortium of overhead asset owners are running a pilot program to gauge the effectiveness of including overhead assets on a locate request. The purpose of the program is to increase awareness for excavators who are working in the vicinity of overhead powerlines, to remind them to stay 7-metres safe, and to have a plan to work safely around overhead assets. In some cases, an orientation with the asset owner is required, and the response back to excavators just before the start of their activity is a way of putting that information in the hands of workers to keep them safe.

Learn more about the program here: Overhead Asset Project Summary

Remember these steps for working safely on site:

Step 1:

Plan Your Route

Before operating any equipment, evaluate the surrounding area for potential hazards and plan a route that keeps the highest point of your equipment at least 7 metres away from overhead lines.

Step 2:

Don’t Forget Your Spotter

Alberta law requires you to have a spotter on the ground to assist in identifying hazards and safe limits of approach when operating equipment.

Step 3:

Contact Your Local Utility

If you have to work within 7 metres of an overhead line, always contact your local utility before any work begins to de-energize the lines and secure the site.

When you place a locate request through the Utility Safety Partners notification service (Click Before You Dig) and your work site is in proximity to registered overhead assets, you will receive information about overhead power line safety and contact information for the utility owner.