12-09-2013

Overhead power lines must always be taken into account when carrying out construction work. Companies have a legal duty to carefully plan any projects near overhead lines, as stated in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

It is stated in the law that it is the duty of the employer or those who are self-employed to comply with the regulations and ensure they are followed in any work they are in control of. Construction employees also have a duty to co-operate with their employer and ensure he or she is able to carry out their responsibility of encouraging compliance.

The purpose of the legislation is to ensure work is carefully planned in order to prevent accidents due to contact or working in close proximity of overhead power lines. To do this, construction firms must assess whether there are any dangers within the site, near its boundaries or along the site's access roads.

If it turns out that there are, the owners must be consulted and they can then help to establish a plan of action to ensure the safety of anyone involved in the project. Often this can mean diverting lines or killing the electricity supply that runs through them.

One of the most important things for construction companies to remember is that people do not have to come into direct contact with the power lines to receive an electric shock and they can be seriously injured or killed from a voltage as low as 230V.

Furthermore, an electrical current can flow through plastic or wood if it is wet or even damp, which highlights why proper safety procedures and adequate storage facilities must always be followed on a building site. Contractors could also use tool hire services to get specially insulated equipment as an extra precaution to reduce risks even further.

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