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New tower worker video explores common electrical hazards

Photo: NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association

Watertown, SD — Communication tower workers should always maintain proper minimum approach distances and use a spotter when working near energized power lines.

NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association offers this advice in a new video created to raise worker awareness of electrical hazards.

Expertise from Corey Manus – vice president of operations at Fenton, MO-based True North Management Services – is featured throughout the video. Manus speaks with host Sean Gilhooley about best practices. They include:

  • When working with mobile elevated work platforms such as a bucket truck or an aerial lift, measure the minimum approach distance from the point of furthest reach, including tools.
  • Make sure equipment operators and spotters maintain direct communication and are always alert. “As a spotter, you can’t be doing anything else but spotting,” Manus says.
  • If you approach a downed power line while in a vehicle or on equipment, stay put and don’t move – you could get electrocuted. When on foot, keep a 35-foot distance from downed power lines. Immediately call 911 and notify the electric company.
  • Look for overhead hazards such as dangling tree limbs or gutters hanging from buildings. “You have to understand that those hazards could be down the line and could cause a hazard that could electrocute an individual if they touch a metal object that is touching the power lines.”
  • Always wear hard hats, gloves and safety glasses when working on or near power lines. Use a stray voltage detector to check for energized metal.

The video includes insight into working near batteries and considerations for operating with different voltages. Manus reminds viewers to turn off the breaker when working on live equipment so no risk of electrocution exists. Use lockout/tagout protocol, if necessary.

The video is the most recent installment in NATE’s Climber Connection series, which promotes safe work practices for communication tower workers.

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