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General Orientation

Rev. November 10, 2020

Overhead Hazards

If you work with dump trucks, boom trucks, ladder trucks, bucket trucks, cranes, augers, excavators, backhoes, scaffolds, ladders or other equipment with a long reach, chances are you’re working dangerously close to overhead or underground power lines. We call that the Zap Zone.


The Zap Zone isn’t just the power line itself: it’s also the surrounding air space (measured in metres) which insulates the line. Of course, you know better than to touch a power line. But operating equipment too close to a power line is risky too.


The fact is, you or your equipment can attract electricity without even touching the wire itself. Electricity can arc or "jump" through the insulating space between a wire and a conducting object like a truck or a ladder. The higher the voltage, the more likely it is for an arc to occur. Keeping a safe distance away saves lives.

Overhead Services Policy

(Document Web Link)

Stay Safe! Steer Clear of the Zap Zone


Be Aware of All Powerlines

Before you start work, be sure you and your co-workers know where all the power lines are, above and below the ground. Consider them energized and dangerous.


Where necessary, arrange to have power lines insulated, de-energized or moved. For Hydro One Networks overhead power lines, contact our Customer Communications Centre at 1-888-664-9376.


Call for a cable-locate before you dig, to avoid contacting underground power lines. Call "Ontario 1 Call" at 1-800-400-2255 for cables greater than 50,000 volts; or our Customer Communications Centre at 1-888-664-9376 for cables less than 50,000 volts.


Know your Zap Zone

Keep at least 3 metres away from all power lines (or more depending on the voltage).


Even power lines carrying less than 750 volts can kill. Avoid touching them or coming too close.

Avoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If it must be stored there, hang warning signs to prevent other workers from using hoisting-equipment to move or lift it.

Before moving ladders, rolling scaffolds or elevating work platforms, always check for overhead lines.

Get a Signaler

You must have a signaler who can warn you when any part of the equipment or load approaches the Zap Zone – the minimum allowable distance from the power line.

The signaler should stand at least 10 metres away from the vehicle in case an electrical contact occurs.

Review S.O.P 04.03 Workplace Protection Plan for details


Contact with Equipment

· Stay on the machine unless there is an emergency such as fire

· Keep others 10 Metres away from equipment and live lines

· Call the utility to shut off power

· If forced to leave equipment, jump clear with feet together, then shuffle away to a minimum radius of 10 meters without lifting your feet from the ground

· If voltage is over 750v, report the incident to the Ministry of Labour


Powerline Reactivation

Beware of time relays.  Even after breakers are tripped by line damage, relays may be triggered to restore power.

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