stay three metres from overhead powerlines

Construction Workers


Deadly powerline contacts on job sites may be closer than you think.

Powerlines are a leading cause of electrical death in Ontario, and 60% of all powerline contacts happen in the construction industry. With a little caution, forethought, and knowledge, you can avoid receiving a deadly shock on the job.

8 Powerline Safety Tips: 

  1. Do not begin any work until you’ve identified all the powerlines around you. Knowing where the powerlines are is the first step to avoiding them.
  2. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 3 metres from overhead powerlines. You don’t have to touch a powerline to get a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or “arc” to you or your tools if you get too close. Have someone watch to make sure you stay at least 3 metres away from powerlines—about the length of a 10-step ladder.
  3. An orange coverup does NOT make a powerline safe to touch. A brightly-coloured coverup is there to help make the powerline more visible—it does not make it less dangerous. You can still get a deadly shock if you touch it or get too close.
  4. Before you begin any excavation work, contact your local utility or call Ontario One Call. Ask for a cable locate for all utility-owned underground infrastructure. Privately-owned underground powerlines need a private locate. 
  5. You must have a competent, dedicated signaller to support drivers of dump trucks and other high-reach vehicles. This makes sure equipment doesn’t come within 3 metres of overhead powerlines. 
  6. Ensure that dump trucks on site lower the box after dropping off a load. It’s good practice to have a “raised box” indicator installed in the truck to remind the driver when the box is raised.
    For more safety tips for dump truck operators, click here.
  7. Stay alert! Incidents often happen at the end of the day, when workers are tired or rushing to finish a job. 
  8. If wires fall on the truck or the ground, always assume they are still energized. Stay in the vehicle, call 911 and keep everyone 10 metres back. Only the local utility worker on-site can confirm when the power is off and tell you when it’s safe to exit the vehicle.

powerline safety course


Download Safety Information:


Infrastructure Health & Safety Association Resources