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Best practices for working near power lines

When there is a serious accident or injury in a North Carolina workplace, a federal agency might step in to ensure the work site is safe. A "close call alert" was issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration when a tractor-trailer made contact with a ground wire overhead. According to the alert, the accident occurred because the truck failed to maintain recommended clearance.

The agency issued a list of best practices for safety. One was that when equipment is operated near high-voltage power lines, awareness of their location and caution about avoiding contact is important. Operators should be mindful of the height of equipment. However, those lines should also be de-energized.

If contact does occur, the utility should be contacted to turn the power off while the operator remains in the vehicle. If contact results in a fire, the operator should leave the vehicle but should avoid touching the ground at the same time equipment is being touched.

A person who is injured in an accident at work may be eligible for workers' compensation. This may be the case whether the employee is hurt in an accident or sustains an injury over a long period of time from repetitive use. The employee may want to speak to an attorney for assistance in filing a workers' compensation claim. The attorney may also be able to assist with the appeals process, if necessary, or if the employer has threatened retaliation in some way because the worker is applying for benefits. Such retaliation is not permitted.

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