Whether flying a kite or digging in your back yard, we’ve outlined the necessary steps to take to make sure you’re safe when outside.
Working Around Overhead Power Lines
Power lines should not be touched under any circumstances. Be careful when handling metal gutters, antennas, or other long metal items that could inadvertently touch an energized power line. When working on a roof, be cautious of the location of power lines so that you don't stand up and accidentally come in contact with a line.
Outdoor Power Tool Safety
Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Electric-powered mowers and other power tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use.
Use extra caution when using a ladder near power lines as you do repair work, remodeling or maintenance work around your home.
- Keep ladders and tools at least 10 feet from power lines.
- Allow greater clearance around high-voltage lines. Use only a clean, dry, wood or fiberglass ladder - never a metal ladder - anywhere near electric lines.
- When installing or removing an antenna, make sure it is at least one-and-one-half times its total height away from power lines. If the antenna starts to fall, let it go and stay clear.
Cutting Down Trees
Cutting down a tree or even pruning limbs is a potentially dangerous task. Tree limbs that grow into power lines may be carrying an electrical current. You could come in contact with the current just by touching the tree limb. Also, use caution when pruning trees with long-handled pruning equipment, especially if it is made of metal. Always look up for overhead lines.
When planning any outdoor planting, be sure to consider the proper placement of trees and shrubs. Inspect the planting area and then select low-growing trees or shrubs that will not touch overhead power lines. Don't forget about underground power lines. If planting near a transformer, be sure to keep a distance of 10 feet from any side with an opening and 3 feet from other sides. Electrical workers need space to safely open the transformer when working on underground power lines.
Water and Electricity
Be careful when using electricity near water. Water makes it easy for you to become an electrical path to the ground. Don't use power tools when the ground is wet or while standing in water. Don't touch an electrical appliance while in a pool or hot tub. Make sure outdoor electrical outlets are weatherproofed and protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI is designed to protect against electrical shock.
Kite Flying Safety Tips
Always supervise children when they are flying kites. Kites should be flown in open fields, away from overhead power lines. If a kite becomes tangled in a power line or electrical equipment, let it go. Do not try to retrieve the kite! Do not touch the tail, string, or any part of the kite. In addition, take particular care to keep mylar kites and mylar helium balloons away from power lines. Because mylar is a good conductor of electricity, these metallic kites and balloons can cause personal injury or interruptions in electric service.
Digging in Your Yard
Before you dig, remember to place a call at least 72 hours in advance to PA One Call at 8-1-1. There is no charge for this service for homeowners. Visit www.paonecall.org for more information.
Tampering with an electric meter is dangerous. Touching an energized meter could cause serious injury or even death. Meter tampering also constitutes a theft, which could result in legal actions, including fines and/or imprisonment.
If you suspect a problem with your meter, call Duquesne Light at 412-393-7100.
The Power of Lightning
If you're outside when there is lightning, the following tips will help you protect yourself.
- Lightning is always seeking the quickest path to the ground. Humans are good conductors because our bodies are 70 percent water. Try not to be the tallest object around and don't stand near or under the tallest object, such as a tree. Lightning may travel from the tallest object to any nearby object that is a better conductor of electricity.
- Seek shelter. The safest place is inside a building or car. Avoid using the telephone in a home or touching anything metal in a car.
- If you can't find shelter, try a depression in the ground or a low area in dense woods.
- If you're caught in an open area, make yourself as small a target as possible. Crouch down with only your feet on the ground. Don't lie flat on your back or stomach.
Fault current can be limited by using current limiting devices such as grounding resistors or fuses. If the fault current is limited to five amperes or less, then many ground faults self-extinguish and do not propagate into phase-to-phase faults.
Duquesne Light is committed to transmitting and distributing electricity safely, but we need your help to ensure your safety and the safety of your coworkers.
Each year a number of accidents involving contact with high voltage lines occur. These accidents often result in serious injury or even death.
In an effort to prevent these types of accidents, federal and state governmentsthey have enacted laws to provide safer working conditions in areas near high voltage lines.
In general, these laws make it illegal for any individual, tool, or other object to be within 10 feet of an energized power line for voltages below 50 kilovolts. Distances are increased for voltages above 50 kilovolts.
By law, crane operators are required to contact the electric utility if they will be working within 20 feet of energized power lines.
Within the Duquesne Light System there are higher voltage lines than 50 kilovolts. Therefore, Duquesne Light should be contacted to verify the voltage of power lines within the work area before beginning your work.
Please take the time to review appropriate safety guidelines pertaining to working around high voltage power lines.
Remember, when planning to work near overhead power lines, they are not insulated. Call us 1-888-393-7000, 24 hours a day, seven days a week) so that we can send a representative to your job site to:
- Identify the voltage of overhead power lines located near the construction site or work area.
- Assist in developing a safety plan for working close to high voltage lines located near your work site.
- Discuss the potential cover-up materials for power lines that are close to work areas and the cost for installation of the cover-up.
- Discuss the cost of temporarily relocating the line if other options are not practical.