Tips of the Trade
Overhead Power Line Clearances
The Deal on Clearances
Maintaining the proper clearance from overhead power lines is not only critical to a safe work environment, it's the law. So, how do you determine the correct clearance distance? Here are some good rules of thumb:
  • If the overhead line is 50 kV or less, stay at least 10 feet away. This clearance distance is 22 feet for cranes and derricks used in construction unless you have taken OSHA-mandated encroachment prevention precautions.
  • Keep all equipment at least 22 feet away from lines carrying 50 kV to 350 kV.
  • For lines carrying more than 350 kV, keep a minimum distance of 50 feet.
If you are unsure of the power line's voltage, contact Duquesne Light before work begins. For specific clearance requirements, visit
Don't Forget
Power lines are not insulated. Always consider them energized and dangerous. Any contact with overhead lines could cause serious injury to operators and ground crew.
Did You Know?
  • A typical distribution line along a roadway may contain voltages ranging from 7,000 volts up to 138,000 volts.
  • Major transmission lines can be as high as
    500,000 volts.
  • Direct and indirect contact with power lines is the most common cause of electrocution.
Would You Like to Know More?
Additional overhead and digging guidelines, case studies, instructional videos, and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you, on Duquesne Light's
e-SMARTworkers website.
Do you like this email series? Do you find the information helpful? We would like to know. Please visit our website for other Tips of the TradeSign up to tell us what you think, or let us know what topics you'd like to see in future emails.