Emergency preparedness comes in many shapes and forms, and preventative safety protocols represent just one of the many pillars of effective planning. One such safety issue is cranes that get too close to high voltage power lines. In fact, a construction company in Washington State was recently cited for violating this very straightforward safety protocol.
The Danger of Operating Cranes Too Close to High Voltage Power Lines
Workers are killed each and every year from coming into contact with high voltage power lines. From 1999-2012 there were 9 deaths in Washington State alone. In 2016, two workers were nearly killed working on the same high voltage line as the cited crane operator. And a quick Google search reveals that more than 50% of the results on page one are focused on worker deaths caused by making contact with high voltage power lines.
This is why safety protocols around this are so stringent and necessary, and why your safety team should have this on the proverbial radar. Crane operators in this situation are required to utilize warning lines like flags or caution tape, as well as a dedicated spotter. They are also required to keep a reasonable and safe distance from the lines, and must pass tests to be qualified to work on these types of jobs.
This impacts emergency preparedness because a crane coming into contact with any electrical line, much less a high voltage power line, will create a power outage on some level of magnitude. Therefore, the more stringent the safety regulations, and the more closely these requirements are followed by contractors, the better off we will all be.