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Proper Precautions to Protect Workers
Under New York code § 23-1.13, there are certain provisions and precautions employers must take to keep workers safe when working with potential electrical hazards. These provisions are meant to ensure safety from all power lines and power facilities near the area of construction, excavation, or demolition. As such, all sites should be considered energized unless otherwise noted.
Some of the precautions that must be considered include:
- Before work is performed at the construction site, it is the responsibility of the employer to determine the voltage levels.
- The employer must provide proper investigation and warning of any electrical voltage that may be of potential danger. This includes warning signs of electric power circuits, locations of the lines, and hazards.
- Employers must prevent employees from working in an area where the electric power circuit exists unless the employee is provided proper safety equipment.
- In order to protect the employees, employers must guard any open switches or circuit interrupting devices if the circuits must be de-energized.
- The utility company must be notified within five (5) working days prior to the project is supposed to begin within 10 feet of live overhead power lines.
- If the construction site is to use portable electric power generators, the frames and one pole of the electrical outputs should be grounded.
- If during investigation the employer finds wiring with cracked or deteriorated insulation, it must be removed immediately.
Temporary Electric Power Circuits
On construction, excavation, and demolition sites using temporary electrical wiring, the employer must take certain steps. First, they must make sure that the wiring is supported by proper insulators. The electrical systems and current-carry equipment must be properly grounded. Electrical wiring must be weather-proof and able to withstand abuse in situations where it must lay on the ground. If elevated power lines are being placed, they should clear at least 18 feet and placed high enough to have sufficient clearance when crossing access roads, highways, or any other road traveled by a larger vehicle. Finally, the fuses and automatic cut-puts must not exceed a size to the point it causes open circuits.
High-Voltage Power Circuits
Anything omitting over 300 volts to the ground at a construction, excavation, or demolition site is considered a high-voltage power circuit. In situations where a person or equipment is to approach nearer than 10 feet to overhead energized lines, the owner of the line or facility should be made aware of the approach. The owner must also advise on the procedure to be followed in work nearer than 10 feet to the line. The employer must follow the owner’s recommendations regarding any equipment used and work completed.
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