Overhead Powerlines

The Importance of a Spotter

Home Where’s the Line Overhead Powerlines The Importance of a Spotter

Alberta law requires you to have a spotter on the ground to assist in identifying hazards and safe limits of approach.

When equipment contacts a power line, not only is the operator at risk, but also any workers standing in the surrounding area. When the electrical current flows through the equipment and into the ground, the voltage will be highest close to the equipment and “ripples” outward, energizing anything touching it.


Spotting safely on the worksite

  • Before operating any equipment, be sure to evaluate the surrounding area for potential hazards. Plan a route that keeps your equipment at least 7 metres away from overhead power lines.
  • Go over your hand signals so that you can communicate clearly with the operator. Relying on voice commands alone can result in costly miscommunications, especially on noisy worksites.
  • When directing the operator, stand at the rear of the equipment on the driver’s side. This ensures that you have a clear view of the entire backing path, and the operator has a clear view of you.
  • When passing behind a vehicle or equipment, stop first to make sure the operator knows you’re there. Make eye contact with the operator directly or through the mirrors.
  • Always ensure that you’re clearly visible. Wear a fluorescent vest with reflective strips to be seen during the day and at night.
  • If you need to work any closer than 7 meters to overhead power lines, contact your local utility company who will work with you to implement controls and instruct you on any revised working distances.