Work near high voltage power lines

Work with a risk of coming in contact with high voltage power exists in civil engineering work with cables in the ground and in the air, but also inside buildings, as well as in distribution boards and signal boxes.

It is important to, in the early planning and projection phase, find out where the risks with high voltage power lines are, in order to be able to prevent problems and plan suitable working methods.

It can require several different practical measures to prevent risks, such as:

  • contact with the electricity grid supplier
  • staff with the right competence for certain work near power lines
  • detailed drawings with the cable layout and other circuit diagrams
  • planning for the disconnecting and redirection of power lines
  • planning of the space to carry out the work
  • planning of material transport
  • suitable sites for new excavation
  • the placement of transport roads with regard to overhead and underground power cables.
  • the planning of a safety distance for certain risky work such as hoist work, blasting work, and crushing, in relation to high voltage power lines
  • grounding (earthing) of certain machines that carry out work near power cables
  • technical measures that limit the risk of machines coming into the risk areas
  • appropriate parking place for machines and for refuelling
  • suitable area for the establishment of construction
  • taking care of persons after electrical accident.

Above are examples of measures that can need to be described in the work environment plan, together with drawings and other documentation where risks and measures are clearly described.

During interior installation work in distribution boards and signal boxes, work with the pulling of cables often takes place in too-small spaces. This can entail crawling over and under different types of raised access and cavity floors where workers must both make their way to and carry out the work. There can be cables that need to be pulled during the work, flooring slabs that need to be lifted, and other heavy equipment that needs to be installed. These working methods need to be specially analysed before the work begins.

Distribution boards and signal boxes are examples of installations that need future maintenance, and they must therefore fulfil the requirements that are in our provisions about the design and ergonomics of the workplace.

It is primarily the Swedish National Electrical Safety Board’s stipulations that regulate work near high voltage power cables. There are also different standards and other regulations, for example, beside roads and railways, that one should follow.

Swedish National Electrical Safety Board’s website, opens in new window

Work near high voltage power lines often requires contact and coordination with the current power supplier.

For some persons it can be inappropriate to carry out work near high voltage for medical reasons, for example if one has a pacemaker. 

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Last updated 2016-04-26