Safe digging starts when you call Georgia 811. By law, everyone – including homeowners – must contact Georgia 811 by dialing 811 or 1-800-282-7411 at least 48 hours before beginning any mechanized digging on your property. If you are unsure as to whether you should notify Georgia 811 before you break ground, remember, even if your digging project is small, it is always best to call!

 Every year several Georgia residents are killed and dozens are injured when they accidentally come in contact with an overhead electric line. All electric lines should be respected, regardless of voltage. However, the distribution lines, or “primary” lines that carry power down the road-side to residential or rural areas are very high voltage lines. If you come in contact with one of these lines, and if you are well grounded (in solid contact with the earth), you can be assured of severe injury or death.

Always remember that electricity is continually looking for a path to the earth. If you are standing on the ground or on an object that is a good conductor of electricity, and if you touch an electric power source with your body or with a good conductor, the electricity will pass through your body to the earth. Injury or death can be the result. Many objects are especially good conductors of electricity and therefore very hazardous around power lines. Wet wood, a freshly cut tree limb, or any other wet object can also be a good conductor.

Several people are killed each year in Georgia when antennas come in contact with overhead power lines. Antennas should never be installed near a power line. Make sure they are far enough away so that the antennas can not come in contact with power lines. Anyone working on the antenna  or holding a guy wire could be seriously injured or killed. Extreme caution should be used when using aluminum ladders close to power lines. If the ladder comes in contact with the power line, serious injury or death is likely. A workman may lift a light irrigation pipe to be moved to a new location or to be placed on an irrigation trailer. If he lifts the pipe too high and comes close to or in contact with an overhead power supply line, death usually results.

Always stay away from fallen overhead wires. Anyone who touches them may be killed.

Modern grain handling methods being used by Georgia farmers make use of augers that are 40 to 60 feet long in placing grain into metal bins from the top. Many accidents occur when these long augers are being moved from one bin to another without lowering the upper end and it touches an overhead power line. Characteristically, two people will be holding the auger while moving it and both will be electrocuted. Consider installing underground electrical service if feasible or working with your local utility to move electrical wires that are dangerously close to metal grain bins.

Pruning trees can be a dangerous job if electric power lines are close. A limb falling against a power line can cause death to anyone in contact with the limb. The falling limb could cause the power line to break. Notify power companies in advance of pruning if these hazards exist.

Elevators, grain augers, T.V. antennas and irrigation pipes should be handled in such a way as to keep them away from power lines. Wind, conditions of the ground, and direction of movement should be considered when moving tall equipment.

A few simple procedures should be followed when moving tall equipment around overhead power lines.

1.   Inspect the path you will take. Know the height of your equipment and be aware of nearby power lines.

2.   Secure all swinging parts before moving. Consider the possibility of uneven ground.

3.   Do not raise power lines for any reason.

4.   Have someone observe equipment being moved in hazardous areas.