Contractors urged to work safe near power lines

- Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power are urging contractors and operators to keep safety around power lines top of mind as this year’s construction season ramps up.

"At this time of year the level of construction activities throughout the province are increasing, meaning more contractors and operators of heavy equipment machinery working near power lines," says Jim Haynes, Hydro’s Vice President of Regulated Operations. "We are deeply concerned by the number of contacts with power lines we’ve seen over the past few years, and we are urging the public to be aware of the dangers associated with electricity and to take the appropriate precautions when working around power lines."

In 2011, Hydro and Newfoundland Power recorded 43 line contacts by the public 12 by Hydro and 31 by Newfoundland Power.

So far in 2012, there have been 15 line contacts three by Hydro and 12 by Newfoundland Power.

The majority of these incidents have involved contractors and operators using large equipment such as excavators, dump trucks, booms, cranes, tractors and trailers. Other power line contacts have involved members of the general public engaged in construction projects around the home and trimming or cutting trees for firewood near power lines.

"As utilities, our top priority is to ensure the safety of employees, contractors and the public," emphasized Gary Smith, Vice President Engineering and Operations, Newfoundland Power Inc. "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."

Smith says by taking the time to locate and ensure adequate clearances from overhead and underground power lines before beginning work, electrical contacts can be prevented.


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