Outside Construction Safety

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace accidents kill more than 5,000 U.S. workers every year. We urge our members, contractors and employees to practice safe work habits to prevent serious injuries and save lives! Always follow these 6 safety rules to prevent the most common mistakes around power lines.

1. Work at a Safe Distance

This is the most important rule: Work at a safe distance from all power lines.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that equipment be kept at least 10 feet away from power lines from 0-50 kV. For higher voltage lines, the required distance is even greater (see table below). When uncertain of a power line’s voltage, stay a minimum of 15 feet away for voltages up 200 kV. Cranes and derricks are required to take additional steps before beginning work (see OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1926.1400 effective Nov. 8, 2010). Call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431 to identify the voltage of power lines before you begin working. If you witness a violation of the rules, stay away from the equipment and warn the operator to move away from the power line.

FKEC Power Line Voltages


OSHA Minimum Approach Distances

(OSHA 1926.1408 Table A)

0-50 kV 10 Feet
Over 50 kV to 200 kV 15 Feet

2. Stay Calm – Stay Away

When operating a piece of equipment that contacts a power line You should


You are not in danger from a fire or from being struck by a power line
  • Stay where you are.
  • Move the equipment away from the power line, if possible.
  • Warn others not to approach the equipment.
  • Call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431 or call 911 to contact FKEC for assistance.
You are in danger and must get off the equipment
  • Jump as far away from the equipment as you can and land with both feet together. (No part of your body should touch the equipment and the ground at the same time.)
  • Hop or shuffle away from the equipment with your feet together to reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • Once clear, do not return to the equipment until FPL declares it safe.
  • Call 911 and/or call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431.
If a fellow worker is in danger
  • Stay away.
  • Warn fellow workers to stay away.
  • Call 911 and/or call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431.

3. Ladders and Lines Don’t Mix

Before you begin working, look up and note the location of power lines. You can be seriously hurt or killed if the object you are holding or standing on contacts a power line.  

  • Before raising or extending any equipment capable of reaching a power line, check in all directions for power lines.
  • Keep a safe distance from any power line, measuring from the end or tip of your own extended reach and including the end or tip of any object you are holding or carrying. Remember to allow even greater distance for safety near higher voltage lines such as transmission lines.
  • Even nonmetallic ladders and equipment can conduct electricity.

4. Call Before You Dig

  • One easy call to 811 starts the process of getting underground utility lines marked for free.
  • Utility company locators will mark the approximate location and type of underground utilities with paint and flags.
  • To avoid costly repairs and construction delays, be sure to contact Sunshine State One Call of Florida at 811 or 1-800-432-4770 at least two full business days in advance of any excavation work.* Visit www.CallSunshine.com for more information.

* In accordance with the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Chapter 556, Florida Statutes

5. Look Up and Live

Look up when working around overhead power lines, especially when trees are nearby.Branches can hide power lines from view.

  • Look up for power lines when using tools of any kind. Even nonmetallic tools can conduct electricity.
  • Cranes and derricks that approach working distance within 15 feet of power lines with operating voltages up to 200 kV are mandated to take “encroachment prevention measures.” See OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1926.1400.
  • Look up for power lines when putting up scaffolding, framing a building, painting, pruning trees or picking fruit.
  • Before moving a tree under a power line, look up and determine the maximum height to lift the tree. Keep a safe distance away as required by OSHA. Trees can conduct electricity.
  • Look up for power lines when working on top of buildings.
  • Before transporting large boats or large objects, please identify a safe route that avoids power lines. If you cannot avoid power lines, please call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431 to coordinate transport and temporary removal* or de-energizing of FKEC power lines.

* Charges may apply for temporary removal or relocation of power lines. You may need to coordinate transportation of oversized objects with local authorities.

6. Downed Lines can be Deadly

Always assume that any downed power line is energized, and stay away.

  • Do not touch or attempt to move any power line.
  • Call 911 and FKEC at 1-305-852-2431 immediately.
  • If a fellow worker touches a downed line or is handling equipment that contacts a power line, remember that any rescue attempt places you in danger.
  • If you must rescue a person in contact with a power line, never use your hands. Use a dry, nonconductive object to move the person to safety.

Important contact information:

Call 911 for any emergency.

Call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431 to report contact with power lines, downed power lines or an outage.

Call 811 before you dig.

Call FKEC at 1-305-852-2431 for identification of power line voltage or help with safe transportation of large boats or large objects.