ppl | PPL Electric Utilities
Overhead and Underground Safety Practices
Review these safety tips from PPL Electric Utilities with coworkers at your tailgate or toolbox meetings before work begins to help avoid potential hazards when working near overhead and underground power lines.
Look Up and Live
Carefully examine the site for overhead power lines, poles and guy wires, and point them out to coworkers. Take extra care to look for lines that may be masked by foliage or otherwise blocked from view.
Consider all overhead power lines to be energized and potentially dangerous, including the service drops that run from utility poles to buildings.
Mark a safety boundary to keep workers, tools and equipment at least 20 feet away from all power lines up to 50 kV. As voltage increases, clearance distances also increase. Call PPL Electric Utilities at 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL-PPL) for specific safety clearance requirements.
Designate a spotter whose only job is to watch your equipment and make sure you maintain the mandatory safety clearances.
Dig Safely
Notify the Pennsylvania One Call System by dialing 811 or using the Web Ticket Entry tool (pa1call.org) at least three business days before digging or moving earth in any way. The facility owners will mark power lines and other buried utilities so you can work safely. Before you call, delineate your dig area with white paint, flags and/or stakes.
Hand dig to verify marked lines. Colored flags and paint marks show you the approximate location of utility lines, but not how deep they are buried. Before you can safely work near a buried line, you must first hand dig to expose the line and verify its exact location and depth.
Respect the marks, and dig with care. The law requires you to use prudent digging techniques, such as hand digging or vacuum excavation, within the “tolerance zone.” This zone spans the width of a marked utility line, plus 18 inches beyond each indicated outside edge of the utility line.
Would You Like to Know More?
Additional overhead and digging guidelines, case studies, instructional videos and FREE training materials can all be found on the PPL Electric Utilities’ e-SMARTworkers website.
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For more contractor safety information, visit
811 | know what's below. | 811 before you dig.
For Emergencies:
Call 911 and PPL Electric Utilities at
1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL-PPL)