Most jobs do not require you to climb 40 feet in the air and conduct business within a few feet of high-voltage power lines that carry 7,200 volts of electricity. However, for many utility workers, this is just another day at the office.
Across the nation, there are millions of utility poles that provide the electricity that powers everything in your daily life — including the brewing of your morning coffee and the lighting you turn off before bed. The electricity we depend on would not be possible without the utility workers who maintain and repair them.
The Safe Electricity program urges everyone to keep utility poles free from all personal materials such as fliers, decorations, balloons, birdhouses, flags and tree stands for hunting. Posting or mounting anything on utility poles creates hazards for the lineworkers who repair and maintain them. By respecting the poles, you help keep your community powered and your electric cooperative lineworkers safe.
Utility workers use specialized climbing devices to perform regular maintenance and repair damaged power lines at the top of utility poles. Nails, tacks and other metal objects that are used to attach objects to utility poles can interfere with the safe operation of the climbing tools and personal protective equipment used by utility workers.
Foreign objects that are embedded in utility poles can snag or damage the protective clothing that keeps lineworkers safe from electrical shock. They already work in extremely hazardous conditions, so everyone who relies on electricity should take steps to make their job as safe as possible.
Posting items on utility poles creates a public safety risk as well. Nails and staples can cause wooden utility poles to degrade more quickly, which may reduce their structural integrity and stability. This increases the risk of falling over during severe weather or when struck by a vehicle.
Fallen utility poles mean power outages, which at the very least are an inconvenience. Electric co-ops must spend valuable resources on repairing or replacing damaged utility poles. In addition, downed power lines are dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. It is important to always stay far away from downed lines.
You can help keep yourself and your community safe by not posting objects to your local utility poles. Help keep the lineworkers who keep your power on safe and do your part to make sure they make it home at the end of the day injury-free.
For more information on staying safe around power lines, utility poles and electricity, visit SafeElectricity.org.