Missouri's Overhead Power Line Safety Act 
Look up and live 
 
Educating the public about the potential dangers of high-voltage overhead power lines is an important part of Ameren Missouri’s ongoing effort to keep our customers and employees safe.

The state of Missouri strengthened our safety message by adopting regulations governing any work close to high-voltage lines. This law includes electric transmission lines and most distribution lines but not service connections to individual homes.

The Overhead Power Line Safety Act particularly affects contractors and their employees, who are more likely to work close to high voltage lines.

The following questions and answers provide an overview of the requirements. The complete text of the Overhead Power Line Safety Act, effective August 28, 1991, follows:

Overhead Power Line Safety Act
Section 319.075
This act may be cited and shall be known as the “Overhead Power Line Safety Act.”

1.

Authorized person
 
 
 
  • An employee of a public utility or an employee of a contractor which has been authorized by a public utility to perform construction, operation or maintenance on or near the poles or structures of such utility;

  • An employee of a cable television or communication service company or an employee of a contractor authorized to make cable television or communication service attachments; or

  • An employee of the state or a county or municipality which has been authorized circuit construction, operation, maintenance on or near the poles or structures of a public utility.

     
2. High voltage
 

Electric potential in excess of 600 volts measured between conductors or between a conductor and the ground.

   
3. Overhead lines
  All electrical conductors installed above ground.
   
4. Person
  An individual, firm, joint venture, partnership, corporation, association, municipality or governmental unit which performs or contracts to perform any function or activity upon any land, building, highway or the premises in proximity to an overhead line.
   
5.

Public Utility

 

Those entities defined as such in Section 386.020, RSMo, as well as municipally owned electrical systems and electric cooperatives provided in chapters 91 and 394, RSMo.

   

Section 319.080

Unless danger against contact with high voltage overhead lines has been guarded against as provided by Section 319.083 of this act, no person, individually or through an agent or employee, shall store, operate, erect, maintain, move or transport any tools, machinery, equipment, supplies or materials or any other device that conducts electricity, within 10 feet of any high voltage overhead line, or perform or require any other person to perform any function or activity upon any land, building, highway or other premises, if at any time during the performance thereof it could reasonably be expected that the person performing the function or activity could move or be placed within 10 feet of any high voltage overhead line.

 

Section 319.075

1.

When any person desires to temporarily carry out any function or activity in closer proximity to any high voltage overhead line than is permitted by Sections 319.075 to 319.090, the person or persons responsible for the function or activity shall notify the public utility which owns the overhead line of the function or activity, and shall make appropriate arrangements with the public utility for temporary mechanical barriers, temporary deenergization and grounding of the conductors, temporary rerouting of electric current or temporary relocating of the conductors, before proceeding with any function or activity which would impair the clearances required by Sections 319.075 to 319.090.

 
2. A person requesting a public utility to provide temporary clearances or other safety precautions shall be responsible for payment of those costs incurred by such utility in the temporary rerouting of electric current or the temporary relocating of the conductors. Upon request, a public utility shall provide a written cost estimate for the work needed to provide temporary clearances or other safety precautions. A public utility is not required to provide such clearances or other safety precautions until payment of the estimated amount has been made. Unless otherwise agreed to, a public utility shall commence work on such clearances or other safety precautions within seven working days after payment has been made.
 
Section 319.085
If a violation of any of the provisions of Sections 319.075 to 319.090 results in physical or electrical contact with any high voltage overhead line, such violation shall be a rebuttable presumption of negligence on the part of the violator in the event such violation shall cause injury, loss or damage, and, not withstanding any other law to the contrary, the public utility shall have the right of contribution against any such violator. In addition to any penalties provided herein, liability under common law may apply.
 
Section 219.088
This act shall not apply to:
1. Construction, operation or maintenance of power lines and telecommunications lines or authorized attachments thereto by an authorized person as defined in Section 319.078 of this act; or
2. Governmental entities responding to an emergency situation.
 
Section 319.090

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this act is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

 
Who is affected?
The regulations apply to any business or any person working within 10 feet of overhead power lines carrying more than 600 volts measured between conductors or conductors and ground. (Additional Occupational Safety and Health Act regulations apply when working within 20 feet of power lines of 50,000 volts or more).
 
What is required?
The business or worker must contact the appropriate electric utility in advance if that individual plans to work within 10 feet of such high-voltage lines. The business or worker is also responsible to refer to, and comply with, federal clearance requirements.

The business or worker must wait until the utility has completed safety work related to the project prior to beginning work. The law allows the utility seven days to begin safety-related work.
 
How can Ameren Missouri help?
Ameren Missouri’s actions will depend on the circumstances. In rare situations, Ameren Missouri will de-energize power lines if such action does not take customers out of service. More often, we will insulate the line (which involves installing temporary insulation materials) to make the area safe. We will usually not relocate the line unless severe topographical changes are necessary - for example, if the property is being regraded, and we must move our facilities.
 
Are any costs involved?
The person or contractor is required to pay costs associated with temporary clearances or other safety precautions. However, Ameren Missouri may waive charges for work that can be completed with minimal effort (an hour or less) by one person during normal working hours, Monday through Friday. With the exception of repeat requests from a customer for cover-up at the same location, charges may also be waived for cover-up where public safety is involved.

More extensive work by Ameren Missouri, as well as holiday or after-hours service, will be charged at appropriate labor and material rates. We will provide a written cost estimate upon request.
 
Why is it important for contractors/operations to comply with this law?
This law is intended to help assure a safe working environment for contractors and their employees. Compliance is important in terms of both people and economics. It is in contractors’ best interest to comply with the law and to educate their employees about the potential danger of high-voltage overhead power lines.
 
What are the penalties?
Anyone who violates the act is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. In addition, he or she is presumed negligent and is liable for injury, loss or damage resulting from physical or electrical contact with a high-voltage overhead line. The penalty may even be death!
Missouri's Overhead Power Line Safety Act
 
 
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