Power Line Clearance

Everyone must be aware of the electrical hazards associated with overhead and underground power lines. Farm equipment is getting larger which makes knowing your clearances even more important. Power systems are designed and constructed using vertical and horizontal clearances that allow for public and worker safety. If you are unsure, stay at least 10 meters away from the power line. Please contact the office for assistance in determining the safe distance to a specific power line.

A safe limit of approach is the minimum safe distance between a person/equipment and a power line that is legislated by The Alberta Electrical Utility Code. Electricity always tries to move toward the ground through the easiest path and it can jump or arc to equipment. Observing safe limits will protect you from fire, severe shock or electrocution. For more information, view Advice & Tips, Safe Limits of Approach.

To help prevent a contact be sure to consider the power system that exists within your work environment when purchasing of equipment and/or planning of the work to be done:

  • Know what work is to be completed
  • Know the size and type of equipment to be used
  • Know the location of the power system
  • Maintain a safe distance from the power system

Working In Proximity to Overhead Power Lines/Systems

The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to verify the height of your load before you begin to move/work.

If you determine the load is over height and if you are moving an over height load on public roads, you will need to review our Highload Information. Note the location of overhead lines, even if you will just be moving equipment around the farm. Line heights can vary depending on the weather and age of the lines. Keep your distance from power lines by maintaining the 10 meter safe zone. Be aware that vegetation near power lines may also be a hazard. Do not pile material (bales, dirt, gravel, etc.) under or around power lines as this will reduce clearances. If you are unsure of the power line height, please contact Battle River Power Coop (1-877-428-3972) for assistance.


Working in Proximity to Underground Power Systems

Power line safety is equally important with underground systems. Please follow these steps and cautions when scheduling and completing in-ground projects.

  • Whether you are planting a tree, installing a fence or a deck, ensure all your underground lines are located before you start. Verify the timelines necessary to arrange for a professional locator to identify line locations so you can include that in your project timeline. Contact either Battle River Power Coop (1-877-428-3972) or Utility Safety at 1-800-242-3447 to facilitate underground line locates prior to any digging activity.
  • Excavating near power poles can be dangerous. Although buried electrical lines are insulated, contact with a sharp shovel or equipment could easily damage the protective covering and expose you to harmful electrical current. The number and depth of cables will vary. Always use extreme caution when working with in-ground lines.
  • Maintain the designated limits of approach with all in-ground work.
  • Do not disturb the soil near the base of a pole as this might impact the integrity of the base material keeping the pole upright.
  • Observe the timelines of a line locate. In most instances, once the site has been marked, you have up to 14 days to begin digging otherwise you will need to have the area remarked.
  • Electrical utilities require that you use non-destructive excavating techniques within 1 meter of the locate marks for underground cables, meaning do not dig with a machine.
  • Use proper back filling techniques to avoid earth settlement which would compromise ground stability.

Contact with a Power Line

In the event that your equipment or vehicle contacts an overhead line:

  • Drive clear of the line if it is safe to do so
  • Remain in your vehicle and call 911
  • Only leave your vehicle if it is absolutely necessary, that is your safety is compromised. If you decide to exit the vehicle, you must jump clear of the vehicle ensuring that you do not maintain/have contact with the vehicle with any part of your body. It is critical that you do not touch the vehicle/equipment and the ground at the same time.
  • Once on the ground, hop or shuffle, keeping both feet together, until you are at least 10 meters away. It is critical to keep your feet together because electricity can be conducted through your body when you step.
  • Do not allow anyone to approach the equipment as they will be walking into a dangerous energized zone and could be electrocuted.

For more information, visit Utility Safety.