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Mine safety agency lists best practices around power lines

Pennsylvania workers who are driving trucks or operating equipment near live power lines need to make sure that they allow for adequate clearance. After a truck caused damage when it touched a power line after it dumped gravel, the Mine Safety and Health Administration put out a "close call alert" along with a list of best practices for working near power lines. The truck in the incident failed to maintain 10 feet of clearance, and although there were no injuries, there could have been an electrocution.

Power lines should be deactivated if equipment is being operated within 10 feet of them. Truck drivers and equipment operators should know where the power lines are located and should avoid contact with them. They should also keep in mind that when equipment is being transported, it might be higher.

If there is an incident, the power company should be notified and the power should be turned off. The vehicle operator should remain in the vehicle unless there is a fire. If a fire occurs, the operator should get out of the vehicle but should never make contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time.

If a person is injured on the job by power lines or in any other way, workers' compensation benefits may cover medical bills and a percentage of lost wages. The worker must file a claim and if it is denied, there is the possibility for an appeal. However, many workers do not realize they are eligible for workers' compensation. They may have been told by employers that they are not eligible, or they might worry about being fired if they apply for compensation. Employers are not supposed to retaliate against employees in these circumstances, and thus victims might want to talk to an attorney and see what rights they have.

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