as I tell my workforce, Near-Miss reports are a blessing from God and should be taken full advantage of because we may not have another chance!!!!!

SAFETY ALERT #2001-53 from the Canadian Petroleum Safety Council (

Power Line Contact - Near Miss

LOSS: Potential loss of life; Equipment Damage
Trucker was picking up a gearbox to be installed in the pump house; lease was very small and congested. Safety meeting was held and the close proximity to a power line was discussed. It was decided this was the best location for the lift, as the Picker Operator would be able to see his load. The boom of the picker came too close to the power line and caused an arc. The front rim and tire was blown off the truck as well as a tire on the opposite side. The mechanic's truck that was parked nearby had the window blown out from the explosion of the tire. The Derrickman that was standing on the mechanic's truck, who had just hooked up the gearbox to the picker, felt the effects of the arcing and jumped clear of the truck. He was taken into hospital for precautionary reasons, but released with full return to work approval.
We must take immediate action to prevent the reoccurrence of this type of incident.
If you do not know the voltage of the line, stay 7 meters from the power line.
Review and record the incident, hazards and controls associated with overhead power lines with all company personnel, and contractors.

Post incident
Let's be proactive and act quickly to prevent another power line contact incident. Read and follow "CAODC Rig Move Procedures". If you do not have a copy, order one immediately from the CAODC.

CAODC - Electrical And Overhead Power Line Hazards
Safe Work Plan
Prior to the rig move, determine if an underground or overhead electrical equipment hazard exists. Visit new locations and assess the presence of electric hazards. Always consider electrical utilities to be live. If an electrical hazard is identified, develop a safe work plan considering the following:
Type of hoisting that will be required
Height and reach of the equipment
Equipment placement
Worker competence
Ground or earth condition
Need to notify electric utility owner
Need to communicate hazard to workers and subcontractor
Overhead Power Lines
Overhead power lines or wires are the electrical equipment contacted most often.

When working beside a power line, it is necessary to consider the horizontal distance to electrical equipment. Consideration of type of service that may be mounted on utility poles must be made. Types of services that may be mounted include:
More than one high voltage circuit
Low voltage power lines
Telephone cables
Cable TV cables

Unqualified persons must never measure clearance to power lines. Determine who operates the electrical utility in the area you are working in, for assistance in determining safe limits of approach and in developing a safe work plan.

The presence of overhead power lines on a work site requires additional considerations:
Posting warning signs along rig move route
Using a designated signaler
Physical guarding of the overhead power lines
Marking the limits of approach on the ground with rope/brightly coloured ribbon
Shutting off the power to power lines
Include incident of contact with an overhead power line in your emergency response.

Walter Hopf
Phone: (780) 955-8808