Construction crews often have to work near electric and natural gas facilities, and so-for safety's sake-all municipalities and contractors are reminded to take precautions when they do. Accidental contact with electric or gas lines can interrupt vital services to residents and businesses. More importantly, it can cause injury, or even death, to construction workers and others in the vicinity. Central Hudson holds its own employees to high safety standards, and encourages contractors to take the time to properly prepare before working in the vicinity of overhead and underground facilities.
There are several steps construction managers and officials must take to reduce the risk of an accident or injury. These include:
- Calling the Dig Safely New York hotline at 1-800-962-7962, dialing 811, or registering their request on-line at www.digsafelynewyork.com, at least two but no more than 10 full working days before digging. This "one-call" service will notify all private and municipal utilities (such as natural gas, electric, water, sewer, and communications companies) in order that they may mark out line locations. For a free copy of the Excavator Manual, contact Dig Safely: New York, or log onto their website and click on "P/E Resources."
- Contacting Central Hudson to meet with a representative to review plans and suggest ways to work safely. Heavy equipment, such as backhoes, cranes, excavators, pumping or drilling rigs, hydraulic lifts and large dump trucks can come into contact with overhead electric lines. Use a designated spotter to keep equipment clear of lines. In some instances, the lines can be de-energized during construction periods.
- Establishing a communications plan with workers to inform them of the location and potential hazards of utility lines in the area. Also, creating a boundary around areas to be avoided, including guy wires, service lines, gas and electric meters, pad-mounted transformers and other facilities, by using cones or tape.
- Remembering to keep a safe distance from utility facilities, at least 10 feet from local power lines, and 25 feet or more from high-voltage transmission lines. Workers should carry ladders, pipes and other long objects horizontally rather than vertically. They should wear appropriate safety gear, and never attempt to make any repairs or adjustments to utility facilities.
- If workers do contact electric lines, do not touch the person or vehicle, warn others to stay away, and call 911 and Central Hudson immediately. If a fire is present and the operators are not injured, instruct them not to shut off the engine, and have them jump away from the vehicle (without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time) and shuffle away, leaving both feet on the ground at all times. Similarly, if you see a downed line, warn others to stay away and contact Central Hudson right away.
- If workers contact natural gas lines, do not shut off the engine and leave the equipment immediately. Warn others to stay away and contact Central Hudson right away.
Contractors and excavators should contact Central Hudson at (845) 452-2700 or, for calls from outside the 845 area code only, 1-800-527-2714 if there are any questions or concerns regarding natural gas or electric lines at construction sites. A presentation on electric and natural gas safety is available to municipalities, fire departments and emergency responders – call Central Hudson and ask your Supervisor of New Utility Business for details.
Visit Northeast Gas Association , and view and print the PDF brochure "Look up, look down, look out" by Electric Safety Foundation International, offering safety advice to contractors and excavators.
See our brochure Natural Gas Pipeline Safety - What You Need to Know .
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