Electric power lines have become part of the landscape, so you may not consider poles and wires located on your job site when planning construction projects.

Although power lines safely carry electricity, direct contact can be extremely dangerous. Power lines also present a danger even if you don’t touch them. Under the right conditions, high voltage lines can arc surprising distances to a nearby conductor. That conductor could be the boom of your truck, an excavator or even a wrench in your hand.

Overhead power lines carry electricity at different voltages, but most people can’t tell the voltage of a line just by looking at it. This means you should use caution when working near any power line – all lines carry voltage that can cause serious injury or death – and always assume the lines are energized.

Also, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because power lines are covered. You may see covered lines in residential areas or on street and traffic lights. Even though the lines may have a protective covering, the cover may not provide protection against electrical shock. Sunlight and weather may deteriorate the covering nd leave the line with no protection at all.