Staying Safe Around Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards are by far the most dangerous aspect associated with tree work, and lead to the largest number of injuries. The human body is an effective conductor of electricity and poses little resistance when shocked, so the rules regarding these hazards need to be carefully followed. Continue reading to learn ways to stay safe around electrical hazards.

#1: All Electrical Hazards Should Be Identified Before Work Begins

Each workday starts with the job site set-up and inspection, which includes the assessment of possible electric hazards. A certified arborist on your team will inspect the area and determine all potential electrical hazards that are present and communicate their location with the rest of the crew.

#2: Assume All Electrical Conductors and Related Equipment are Energized

Electrical hazards can cause significant damage and often times are fatal; meaning that extra precaution needs to be taken. While on the job, always assume that all electrical conductors, communication wires, cables, and related equipment are energized with fatal voltages. Related equipment includes all objects that conduct electricity such as guy wires, energized equipment, chain link fences, fallen power lines, and portable generators.

#3: Always Maintain Minimum Approach Distance

All non-line clearance arborists should stay at least 10 Ft. away from potential electrical hazards. Qualified line clearance arborists and trainees under direct observation by a qualified person can approach up to the published minimum approach distance. A second qualified line clearance arborists must also be present within visual or voice communication distance when an arborist has to get closer than 10 Ft. to any electrical conductor in excess of 750 volts. If you’re the climber, be sure to maintain communication at all times with your fellow team members.

#4: Awareness When Climbing

When climbing near electrical hazards, workers should look to climb on the part of the tree that’s furthest from the powerline, if possible. And never under any circumstances should you work with your back towards the conductor. It is also important to position yourself in a way that won’t lead you to swing into the conductor.

#5: Be Aware of Possible Electric Conductors

The human body has conductive properties, meaning it poses little resistance to electric currents and provides a path for the flow of electricity to grounded objects or the ground itself; known as direct contact. The human body also poses minimal resistance to indirect contact with electrical conductors, energized tree limbs, tools, or equipment; this can also lead to fatal or significant electrical injury.

Additionally, contact with two separate energize conductors is just as dangerous. A person standing near an energized grounded object can also fall victim to electrocution, so it’s important to be aware of potential hazards.

Electrical hazards are extremely dangerous, and something that should be taken seriously during each job. Keep these 5 elements in mind next time you or a team member is working near electricity, it could be the difference in someone getting home safe after the job is done.

Posted: 4/16/2019 11:52:53 AM by Global Administrator