One of the most potentially hazardous electrical situations in industrial plants and on construction sites is accidental contact with overhead or underground wiring. The Georgia State Legislature has enacted two laws to help prevent electrical contact accidents: the Georgia High Voltage Safety Act and the Call Before You Dig Law. Failure to comply with these laws can result in electrical injuries to workers, fines, and extensive liability exposure.
In many areas, electric lines and communication lines are buried in the ground along with gas and water pipes. Utilities can mark the location of underground facilities so that excavation may be planned to avoid damage.
The "Call Before You Dig" law requires that before beginning any excavation one must call the Utilities Protection Center (UPC) at 811 ( or 1-800-282-7411) to request an underground locator service. Calling 811 before every digging job gets your underground utility lines marked for free and helps prevent undesired consequences. For more information, visit www.gaupc.com.
Protection from contact with overhead wiring is provided best by isolation, or distance. The covering on some overhead lines is weatherproofing; it is not intended to provide insulated protection from contact. This plastic coating may become brittle, making it easy for it to crack and fall off.
Operators of equipment like backhoes, dump trucks, bucket trucks, concrete pumpers, booms and cranes should be especially conscious of overhead wiring. The hazard of contact is also posed to workers on scaffolding or those handling or moving any type of long tools or equipment, like sections of metal pipe.
The Georgia High-Voltage Safety Act requires that before you begin any work, including construction, within 10 feet of an overhead electrical line carrying more than 750 volts, you must call the Utilities Protection Center (UPC) at 811 (or 1-800-282-7411) to request safeguards for work in the area. For more information, visit www.gaupc.com.
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