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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Workers face dangers working on downed power lines, trees

With fall and winter in Georgia come downed trees and power lines. The workers who are charged with dealing with these problems face the danger of being electrocuted.

Workers, of course, should have personal protective equipment that's designed to be worn in wet conditions. They should also have the appropriate tools for the job. The tools used should be safe for working in wet conditions.

Energized lines, of course, are more dangerous than those that aren't energized. Qualified workers need to do a hazard analysis to determine whether the job is safe to do given the weather conditions and other factors.

If you don't know whether a downed power line is energized or not, you should assume that it is. Only electrical utility workers with experience in damaged power lines should be working around them.

The hazards of working on downed power lines include:

-- Being hit by a collapsing pole or tree

-- Being electrocuted by an energized power line or an object that has made contact with an energized power line that has been knocked down

-- Burns from a fire caused by equipment failure or an energized line

Many of the same electrical hazards can occur when workers are removing downed trees. Often workers are directed to remove these as quickly as possible because they can damage power lines and block roads. Workers clearing limbs of downed trees run the risk of electrocution if all or part of a downed tree has made contact with an energized power lines,

If you or a loved one has suffered burns or other injuries while working on downed power lines or trees, it's essential to make sure that workers' compensation covers the costs of medical care and lost wages. It may be wise to seek legal guidance to make sure that you are getting the compensation to which you are entitled.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Winter Weather -- Hazards/Precautions," accessed Sep. 14, 2015

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