Ensuring Safety Around Power Lines With Fleet Tracking

Power lines are vital to keeping communities running. For utility workers and tree care fleet workers, they can also be dangerous if not properly managed.

According to the CDC’s NIOSH, each year approximately 300 American workers are killed by electrical hazards, while thousands more are injured. 

Further, electric line workers are listed among the top 10 most dangerous jobs. After all, a long-distance transmission line carries around 345,000 volts, while the voltage of a local transmission line is 13,800 volts, which is immediately deadly to a worker who makes contact. When tree branches or other objects come into contact with power lines, they can create a dangerous situation. 

In some cases, the electricity flowing through the lines can cause fires or even explosions. To prevent these accidents, it is important to have a system in place for managing power line safety. 

For example, trees recently crashed into power lines in Massachusetts, causing mass power outages. This power outage was the result of a storm that blew through Westwood, Massachusetts, knocking over a tree onto some power lines, leaving up to one-quarter of the town powerless. 

Similarly, a Seattle construction worker was electrocuted while cutting down pine trees as part of house demolition. The worker was cutting down a tree in Greenwood when it came in contact with power lines, starting a fire that injured him. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition.

To prevent these accidents, it is important to have a system in place for managing power line safety. 

Tree trimming companies are often responsible for keeping power lines clear, and they can use fleet tracking to ensure that their workers are safe. By tracking the location of all vehicles in their fleet, these companies can decide how, where, and which vehicles to send for trimming. 

Overall, fleet tracking is an essential tool for ensuring safety around power lines. By keeping tabs on vehicle locations and driver behavior, companies can minimize the risk of accidents and keep their workers safe.

Why tree trimming is regulated

The dangers of power lines have been well documented, which is why tree trimming near power lines is actually regulated.

The Vegetation Management Reliability Standard establishes a “minimum clearance between trees and transmission lines in the right-of-way” that must be maintained. This so-called “gap factor” depends both on the voltage of the line and altitude, and ranges from as little as under 1 foot to as much as 14 feet. By following these regulations, tree trimming companies can help keep their workers safe while trimming trees around power lines.

Why auditors monitor power line safety

OSHA has basic rules around power line safety, including 29 CFR 1910.333(c)(3), or “Working On or Near Overhead Power Lines.” This rule requires “qualified persons” to perform the work if the worker or any object will come within 10 feet of an exposed energized part.

The violation of any OSHA standard can result in significant fines for companies. However, the risk of injury or death from electric shock is so high that most employers take power line safety very seriously. During an OSHA compliance audit, an auditor may ask about your company’s safety protocols for working near power lines, and may even check to make sure that you are in compliance with OSHA’s regulations.

Auditors often need to assess the safety of a company’s operations. In order to do this, they need to understand the risks associated with different activities and how those risks are managed. 

Power line maintenance is a high-risk activity, and companies need to take specific precautions to ensure worker safety. These precautions may include training employees on how to safely work around power lines, using signage and barricades to mark hazards, and keeping vehicles away from power lines. 

In addition to understanding the safety measures in place, auditors also need to be aware of any changes that could increase the risk of an accident. For example, if a company expands its operations into a new area where they are not familiar with the power lines, this could lead to an increased risk of accidents. 

Overall, auditors need to be aware of the potential dangers associated with working near power lines and understand how those dangers are managed by the company. By doing so, they can provide a more complete assessment of the company’s safety operations.

RG Tree is a GPS Trackit customer that has contracts to maintain a safe clearance between trees and powerlines. They use GPS tracking to coordinate auditors who inspect tree clearing and ensure that field service crews are performing safely.

Are you ready to learn more? Talk to a Fleet Advisor today.

Mitigating powerline risks with fleet tracking

Power line accidents can be deadly, and companies need to take specific precautions to ensure worker safety. One way to do this is by using fleet tracking to monitor the location of all vehicles in the fleet. 

With fleet tracking, companies can see which vehicles are closest to power lines and make better decisions about which ones to send for trimming. By knowing the location of all vehicles, utility companies can also dispatch crews more quickly in the event of an outage or emergency. 

In addition, fleet tracking can help companies identify unsafe practices and correct them. By recording driver behavior, companies can see who is most likely to take risks when working near power lines and take corrective action. 

Overall, fleet tracking is a valuable tool for mitigating the risk of power line accidents. By keeping tabs on vehicle locations and driver behavior, companies can ensure that their workers are safe while trimming trees around power lines.

What are companies that specialize in powerline maintenance?

There are a number of companies that specialize in powerline maintenance. These companies often provide services such as tree trimming, pole erection, and line construction. 

Some of the largest players in this market include Consumers Energy, Dominion Energy, and FPL. Their scheduled maintenance programs include steps like checking lines for vegetation issues, identifying line areas for maintenance, dispatching qualified workers for pruning, and collecting remaining debris. 

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

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