Electric power line workers install, maintain, and repair electric networks between power plants and their customers. This work is hazardous; contact with high-voltage power lines can instantly electrocute you. Get proper training and safety equipment such as insulated protective clothing and tools.
Only qualified electrical workers can work on energized conductors or equipment connected to energized high-voltage systems (equal or greater than 600 volts). Cal/OSHA defines a qualified electrical worker as a person with at least two years of training and experience.
Don’t work alone on high-voltage systems.
A qualified electrical worker or experienced employee-in-training needs to be available in case of an emergency. Some exceptions: replacing fuses, operating switches, or other operations on de-energized conductors or equipment, clearing “trouble” tickets, or in life threatening emergencies.
Power lines are connected to utility poles and towers or located underground in trenches and vaults. During installation, workers use construction equipment such as augers, trenchers, diggers, cranes, etc. Get training on construction equipment you use. Inspect and maintain it to ensure it runs properly and that safety features (e.g. backup horns, emergency lighting) work.
Know and understand the hazards of trenching and engulfment. Know how to dig, maintain, barricade, and enter a trench safely. Get training in confined spaces if you enter work vaults or power utility holes. Monitor the environment for hazards and have the safety equipment and backup team necessary to ensure your safe exit. Use proper lockout/tagout procedures.
If you work from heights on power poles or towers, get training in fall protection equipment and safety and rescue procedures. Know how to hoist your materials safely. Learn the safe operation of bucket trucks that access elevated job tasks. Wear properly inspected and maintained fall protection equipment.
Hand and power tools, along with chemical epoxies and cleaners are used to install and maintain network equipment (transformers, circuit breakers, switches, fuses, etc.). Use and maintain your tools properly. Get training in the safe handling and disposal of chemicals; consult the safety data sheet (SDS) for additional guidance.
Power line work occurs year-round and often in remote areas, during bad weather or natural disasters, to repair and restore power in emergencies. Work with backup employees when you can. Communicate your location and expected return time with your coworkers. Wear light layers that protect you from the elements. Use reflective gear to keep you visible along roadways.