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Power lines and Utility Poles

Safety Tips

  • When planning summertime activities, like block parties and yard sales, remember not to use utility poles to advertise or decorate for your event.
  • Posting signs, hanging banners or tying ribbons and balloons on utility poles can endanger utility workers and often is a violation of local ordinances.
  • The safety boots worn by line workers for climbing poles are especially vulnerable to becoming snagged and caught on staples and nails embedded in poles. Foreign objects can also tear utility workers’ clothing or injure workers despite the safety gear they wear to avoid contact with rough surfaces.
  • Be cautious around guy wires that support utility poles. Do not let children swing or climb on them and be careful not to run over or into them with yard equipment or vehicles. Report any damaged guy wires to Ameren.
  • If you are planning to remove a TV antenna or install a satellite dish on your roof, stay away from the service drop wires or overhead power lines.
  • Exercise precautions when using ladders or cleaning near a service drop, where the wiring comes into your home by the meter. The wires are covered with weatherproofing material, not insulation. The material can become brittle or cracked and may expose energized wires.
  • Power lines and equipment are not just overhead. Be aware of underground power lines and equipment when digging. Contact the Missouri One Call System before doing any digging or excavation.

More on Missouri's Overhead Power Line Safety Act.

Power Line Safety For Contractors

Utility Poles

  • If you operate heavy equipment, such as a backhoe, dump truck, bucket truck or crane, you should use a spotter when working near power lines. Workers on ladders and scaffolding or those handling long equipment or tools should look up and keep at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Call Ameren and let us know you will be working around power lines. If the job requires special attention around the lines, an Ameren crew may be dispatched to make sure your company is working safely.
  • Use caution when working around damaged utility poles or guy wires.

If contact is made with power lines:

  • Do not move. Stay in place on the equipment until help arrives. Do not touch any metal while on the equipment. Do not break contact by moving the machine out of place.
  • If it is absolutely necessary to get off the equipment, jump as far out as possible, land with both feet together and hop - do not walk or run. The ground is energized around the area and could create an electrical path through your body if your feet are apart.
  • If a co-worker has come into contact with a high-voltage line, do not attempt to touch him or her or go near the area until power has been shut off.

More on Missouri's Overhead Power Line Safety Act.

Downed Power Lines

  • If you see downed power lines, stay far away, warn others and call Ameren to report the location.
  • Never drive over a downed power line.
  • Never touch any electrical power lines. Keep your family and pets away from the lines.
  • If a tree or branch falls on an electric line, call Ameren to report the location.
  • DO NOT remove a tree limb or other object from a power line. Electricity can travel through objects, especially when they are wet.
  • Don't attempt to rescue someone who makes contact with a downed power line - you could become a victim yourself. Call 911.
  • Stay away from anything a downed power line comes in contact with, including fences or trees.
  • Remember, it's hard to tell the difference between an electric line, a telephone line or a cable line. Treat any line as an energized and dangerous line.
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