Overhead Electric Wires – Indiana’s Forgotten Danger

power%20lines.jpgDropping leaves and cooler temperatures are a beautiful reminder that it is fall in Indiana. The beauty of the season is often tempered with preparations for the winter weather just around the corner. One task on every home-owner’s to-do list is the duty of cleaning gutters. Leaves and debris accumulates over the course of the summer months, resulting in blocked gutters and downspouts that overflow during the autumn rains and winter snows.

The personal injury attorneys at our firm encourage every home owner to be aware of their surroundings when doing home repairs. Gas mains, phone lines, and utility boxes all pose their own hazards and precautions should be taken when working near them.

Overhead electrical wires are especially dangerous, carrying up to 50,000 volts of electricity. Because electricity seeks the fastest route to the ground, any object that contacts a power line can act as a conduit, meaning that the surge of electricity can flow through a ladder, a limb, pole and anything that is touching the item. Any contact with the wire, even if it is insulated, can result in severe injury or sudden death.

There are several important precautions to take when household chores involve ladders, antennas or working on the roof and gutters.

• Be aware of your surroundings and assess the location of all utilities before you begin work.
• Maintain a MINIMUM distance of 10 feet between you and any power line. As the voltage contained increases, the distance from the line should also increase.
• Contact the power company if the line should be deactivated before work is completed (roofing, siding, etc).
• Always use a wood or fiberglass ladder if power lines are in the area.
• Install all areal antennas away from power lines. The recommended distance is 1.5 times the length of the tower.
• Take the time necessary to plan the job before you begin working. Last minute jobs can result in failure to properly assess the worksite.
• When working at a job site, ensure the proper utilities are contacted and that all OSHA guidelines are followed.

Indiana residents can have a safe and enjoyable fall season, especially if they take the time to work around their home with caution and awareness.