Look Out, Look Up! for overhead power lines. Always assume lines are live, do not touch or get close to them.
There are overhead power lines criss-crossing the country. Often unnoticed, they are essential to provide electricity to cities, towns, villages and rural communities.
They carry voltages ranging from 230 volts (domestic voltage) up to 400,000 volts. Even domestic voltage can be fatal and high voltage electricity can jump large gaps.
The energy network is designed to keep you safe, but on average two people are killed while others endure life-changing injuries every year in the UK when equipment or machinery comes into contact or close proximity to overhead power lines. The lives of their families also suffering as a result.
You must keep five metres away from fallen or damaged overhead power lines.
Damaged lines can stay live or be re-energised automatically or remotely without warning if the electricity network operator is not aware of an incident.
At high voltage electricity can jump gaps, so even getting too close to overhead power lines can be dangerous.
If you inadvertently come into contact with an overhead power line and the machine is not operable or cannot be driven clear of the line:
If the machine is inoperable or cannot be driven free and there is risk of fire or other immediate hazard:
ENA’s Public Safety Committee, which brings together experts from each member company, communicates the safety message to those people working in transport and construction whose activities could bring them close to overhead lines and underground cables.
Please report any damage or contact no matter how minor they may seem.
While the damage may not cause a serious problem at the time of contact it could fail later, causing danger to members of the public, disruption to customer supplies, and if your local electricity network operator traces the damage back to you, a larger repair bill.
This page has been produced for anyone who uses mobile plant, (such as Hiabs, MEWPs, Tipper Lorries and Trailers, Grab Lorries, Concrete Conveyors and Excavators) for short duration work and provides general guidance on how to avoid becoming part of these statistics.
More detailed general information on this subject is available free to download on the HSE website.