Personal Safety Tips

Most of the injuries and fatalities that are reported to ESRB involve contact with underground or overhead power lines. It is extremely important to understand that contacting a power line, or coming close to one, could lead to fatal injuries. There are steps we can all take to prevent  injuries or fatalities. 

Downed or Exposed Wires

To avoid unnecessary injury, please follow these simple rules when you find any number of downed or exposed wires:

  • Always assume the conductor is energized. 
  • Stay away from the conductor and keep your distance.
  • Do not attempt to drive over or step over a conductor.
  • Do not attempt to remove or push the conductor with any tools or objects.
  • Call 911 or the local fire department and report the downed or exposed conductor.
  • Alert anyone from the public around the area to stay clear from the conductor.

Power Lines In Contact or Close to Trees/Vegetation 

It is dangerous working in or near trees that are close to power lines because trees and tools can conduct electricity. Keep these tips in mind to work safely around power lines:

  • Communicate with your local utility if there is a chance for you or a contractor to contact the power lines.
  • If you notice a power line that is very close or in contact with any part of the tree, call the electric utility and report the tree to power line contact.
  • Do not attempt to clear a tree to power line contact yourself.  Electric utilities are responsible for maintaining an 18 inch clearance around their high voltage power lines.

Digging or Excavating? Call 811.

Hitting an underground power line while digging could result in fatal injuries.  Please follow these steps to dig safely:

  • Call Underground Service Alert (USA) by dialing 811 two days before your planned work.  You may also visit the 811 website for Web Ticket Entry.
  • USA will inform you of all the utilities in your area of the excavation.
  • Utilities representatives will mark all of the underground facilities in your designated area.
  • Proceed to dig with caution.

Excessively Leaning Pole 

If you notice a pole that is leaning too much, or has too many facilities attached to it, call your local utility or the CPUC to report it.

An overloaded pole increases the likelihood that a pole may fail and endanger the general public. The CPUC takes all safety matters seriously and has long standing rules and new rules to address the issues associated with pole loading. An overloaded pole is a pole with excessive load installed on it, a pole that has lost strength, or a combination of the prior two. General Order 95 requires wood poles that support both electric and communication equipment to be replaced or re-enforced before they become overloaded.

Utility Safety Websites

To find more safety information for your specific area, please visit the utility safety websites below:

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