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What to Do if Equipment Makes Contact with a Power Line

Authored by Ed Davidson with Long Foundation Drilling Co. and originally published on LinkedIn

Making contact with energized power lines can put you in a dangerous situation...not knowing what to do next can make a bad situation even worse!

Stay Put
If your equipment contacts a power line, stay inside the cab. DO NOT EXIT. Call 911 and your electric cooperative for help and warn anyone nearby not to approach your equipment. Only exit the machinery after you are told by the authorities that it is safe to do so.

Exiting equipment that has contacted energized power lines can cause electrocution. The downed power lines could be charging the equipment with electricity and, if you step out, you will become the electricity’s path to the ground and could be killed by electric shock.

Jump Clear
If you must get out of your equipment because of a fire, tuck your arms across your body and jump with your feet together as far as possible from the equipment so no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time.

Move away from the equipment with your feet together, either by hopping or shuffling, until you are at least 40 feet away. Electricity spreads through the ground in ripples. Keeping your feet together prevents one foot from stepping into a higher voltage zone than the other foot, which could cause electrocution.

Stay Away
When you are clear of the area, call for help and keep others away. DO NOT approach your vehicle again until utility crews and emergency responders tell you it is safe.

And Remember, Always Look Up equipment is getting larger. Bigger machinery improves productivity, but it can pose a threat to overhead power lines.

Always look up before operating machinery or raising implements. And be extra cautious when moving tall equipment around the yard and exiting or entering jobsites and fields from roadways.