Canadian Utilities Want Power Line Contacts Prevented

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power jointly urged the public, contractors, and heavy equipment operators to identify the location of overhead and/or underground power lines before beginning work.

Two Canadian utility companies, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power joined forces Sept. 20 to issue a news release urging the public, contractors, and heavy equipment operators to take time to identify the location of overhead and/or underground power lines before beginning work. It said the two companies recorded 136 power line contacts by members of the public and contractors during 2012, and there have been 64 contacts so far in 2013.

"People who work around power lines or are completing a project in close proximity to power lines need to stop and look around them before starting the job," said Gary Smith, vice president of Customer Operations and Engineering with Newfoundland Power. "People know that coming into contact with an energized power line can cause severe injury or even death, but we need them to keep it top of mind."

Most of this year's contacts have involved contractors and operators using large mobile equipment such as excavators, dump trucks, boom trucks, cranes, tractors, and trailers, but some have been members of the general public doing construction projects around the home or trimming or cutting trees near power lines.

"We continue to be concerned about the number of power line contacts we see every year," said Rob Henderson, vice president of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, which is the primary generator of electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador. "This is a busy period for construction activities, so it's important for contractors and operators of heavy equipment to keep safety top of mind and be extra cautious when working near power lines."

"As utilities, our top priority is to ensure the safety of employees, contractors and the public," Smith added. "Working with Hydro, our objective is to continue to raise awareness among those who work around power lines, reminding them to take precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and others."

The release includes a reminder that there are specific requirements for maintaining clearances and providing worker training in Newfoundland's Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and special permits are required when working near energized power lines. For additional power line safety information, visit www.hydrosafety.ca or www.newfoundlandpower.com/ElectricalSafety.

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