Electrical safety resources

If you work around electricity, know the 3 keys of electrical safety

  1. Look up and down: Plan your work so you can avoid contact with power lines. Make sure you look for power lines overhead and underground.
  2. Stay back: If you're working around power lines, keep a safe distance from the lines. You should be at least 10 metres (33 feet) away from the lines and your equipment should be at least 6 metres (20 feet) away. Use a spotter to make sure you're maintaining this minimum safe distance.
  3. Call for help: If you come across a fallen power line, an exposed underground power line, or any object comes into contact with a power line, stay back 10 metres (33 feet) and call 911. If your equipment contacts a line, stay calm and stay still until help arrives.

Stay safe and maintain your compliance with WorkSafeBC Regulation when working near power lines

For work near exposed electrical equipment or conductors, WorkSafeBC Regulation specifies the safe limits of approach that must be maintained by any worker, work, tool, machine, equipment or material. That includes equipment like ladders, power tools, scaffolding, cranes, and machinery.

What's a safe distance from power lines?

Electricity can flow through objects that are touching power lines and can move across a gap from a line to an object that is close by.

The minimum safe distance to prevent this from happening is called a "limit of approach" and it is determined by:

  • The voltage of the line.
  • The proximity of the worker and equipment.

These distances apply to workers, tools, machines, and equipment. If you will be working near sources of high-voltage electricity, you must follow the limits of approach to stay safe and maintain your compliance with WorkSafeBC Regulation.

Know your power lines: Transmission vs. Distribution visual guide

WorkSafeBC's general limits of approach

Voltage phase to phase
Minimum distance
Metres
Feet
Over 750 V to 75 kV 3 10
Over 75 kV to 250 kV 4.5 15
Over 250 kV to 550 kV 6 20


If you don't know the voltage of a power line, stay back at least 10 metres (33 feet) and wait for a BC Hydro representative to arrive and verify your limit of approach

If you need to know the voltage of the power line or work near the limits of approach

Call BC Hydro's Electric Service Coordination Centre at 1 877 520 1355.

If you don't know the voltage of a power line, stay back at least 10 metres (33 feet) and wait for a BC Hydro representative to arrive and verify the voltage.

We'll work with you to determine what steps are necessary to protect you and maintain your compliance with WorkSafeBC Regulation. Information on the process and timelines can be found in our course Working with BC Hydro on WorkSafeBC's 30M33 Process.

You may need to complete WorkSafeBC's form 30M33 [PDF, 201 KB] and we can help you.

Watch what can happen when you don't follow the 3 keys of electrical safety

Related Videos

Electrical Safety: Fatal Crane Truck Contact
In this video, a crane truck operator contacts a high-voltage power line with fatal results.