How can you prevent contact with power lines?

According to Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, approximately 10% of all construction workers’ deaths are due to electrocution. Among the many serious injuries that you can sustain from a non-fatal electrical shock are cardiac arrest, uncontrollable muscle contractions and severe burns.

There are many work-related situations in which you risk exposure to potentially deadly levels of electricity. One of the most dangerous possibilities is coming in contact with power lines while working on a ladder. Here are some ways that you can prevent this from happening.

1. Conduct ladder inspections

Before and after every use, inspect the ladder for damage. Make sure the ladders you use are dry and clean. If available, ladders with non-conductive side rails present less risk of an electrical accident but do not provide absolute protection.

2. Carry ladders correctly

You are more likely to come in contact accidentally with an overhead power line if you try to move an extension ladder in the upright position. If you need help moving a ladder, ask a co-worker for assistance.

3. Move away quickly

A ladder that has accidentally come in contact with an overhead power line may become energized. Avoid touching it and move away quickly and safely to avoid a shock. Immediately contact the electric utility company.

4. Maintain proper clearance

Even if you or your ladder do not come into direct contact with the line, working too close to it can still expose you to a shock that can result in death or serious injury. An arc of electrical energy can form if you do not maintain adequate clearance from the energized power line.