A Washington state business was recently fined upwards of $100,000 from the state's Department of Labor & Industries for operating a crane too close to high-voltage power lines without taking proper safety precautions. CICB would like to remind you that workers are hurt and killed every year when cranes come in contact with power lines and it's a significant workplace safety issue, with very specific requirements that must be followed.
Many businesses are not aware of the regulations for working around powerlines even though it is an extensive part of the crane operator certification exam. In fact, many couldn't even define when a crane is considered to be "near" powerlines. This is important because if the crane is "near" powerlines, certain safety precautions must be followed per federal regulation. These precautions can include de-energizing and grounding the lines, maintaining prescribed distances away from the lines, and/or using a dedicated safety spotter; all depending on the situation and needs. These distances are designed not only to prevent powerline contact but to put the crane and load far enough away that arc is also not a danger.
Sadly, if these regulations were followed, many workers would still be alive and well today. Powerline encroachment is a completely avoidable hazard with just a few precautions put in place before the work begins. Remember, if the crane becomes energized, someone could be hurt or killed before you even know an accident has taken place. Contact the utility company in advance and set up the proper prohibited zone to keep everyone safe.
CICB's courses cover powerline safety. We recommend ensuring all employees have undergone formal training before operating the equipment.
CICB provides formal training for mobile cranes, bucket trucks, mobile elevating work platforms, and much more. Check out our course offerings here.