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Overhead Lines

You do not need to come into direct contact with overhead electricity lines and poles to be injured or killed. Electricity can jump across five metre gaps – look up, look out.

Activities that could put you, your family or your colleagues in danger include:

  • Operating machinery, carrying ladders or using cranes.
  • Working at height, for example, on roofs, scaffolding or with cherry pickers.
  • Trampolines, tree houses, drones and kites all have the potential to result in contact with the electricity network if they are in the wrong location.
  • Aerial sports, fishing and sailing can also put you at risk of serious harm.
  • Spraying liquids, such as power hosing or spreading slurry, can result in fatal electrocution if the jets come into contact with overhead lines.

Keep yourself and any equipment at least 5 metres (17 feet) away from overhead lines and equipment in all circumstances.

If you are using vehicles check entrances and exits for overhead lines.

If electrical tools you are using get wet, stop using them and do not touch them.

Never allow children to play near you when you are using electric tools.

Links to Safety Guidelines

Emergency Advice

  • If a vehicle you are in makes contact with overhead electricity lines, stay put and call for help.
  • If you need to get out to call for help, or because of fire, jump as far as possible from your vehicle keeping both feet together.
  • Never return to the vehicle and keep people well away from any broken or damaged electricity apparatus.
  • If you collide or become entangled with a line do not move until help arrives.
  • Everyone who works near overhead lines should make themselves familiar with HSENI’s GS6 guidance.
  • If anyone has been injured or is in danger you must contact the emergency services by calling 999 or for the Republic of Ireland 112.
  • In the case of any incident involving electricity equipment please make us aware by calling 03457 643 643.

Contractors and Agricultural Workers

  • If you have contractors working on your farm or property, remember to point out the location of electricity poles and equipment.
  • You should erect safety goal posts, barriers and warning signs to maintain safe clearances when working close to overhead lines.
  • Never raise the bed of a tipper lorry underneath an overhead power line or drive under the line with the body of the vehicle raised. Drivers should unload elsewhere and use a vehicle that doesn’t pose a risk near overhead power lines (such as a small dump truck).
  • Contact us well before work takes place as we may need to arrange a temporary disconnection for the duration of the work.
  • For more information and resources, you should also visit the HSENI website.

Trees, Hedges and Safety Clearances

  • Plan ahead. If you are unsure about how close tree or hedge cutting work will come to overhead power lines, contact us via this form or call 03457 643 643.
  • Never touch a tree branch if it is in contact with a power line.
  • Plant trees well away from overhead lines and get advice on how tall plants and trees will grow to avoid future risk.
  • Before building tree houses, or allowing children to climb trees, ensure that there are no overhead lines, poles, or other electricity equipment within 5 meters of the tree. Consider whether the tree will grow too close to the electricity network in future.
  • Do not cut down trees unless the height of the tree is less than half the distance to any nearby overhead lines, poles, or other electricity equipment.
  • Do not cut trees or hedges which are within 5 metres (16 ft 4 inches) of overhead lines, poles or other electricity equipment.
  • If cutting is within 5 meters of overhead lines, poles, or other electricity equipment, or has the potential to come within 5 meters of it during your work, we may need to have our equipment made safe before you start. This will be free of charge provided;
    • Adequate notice is given
    • Traffic control is not required
    • Your work is planned for normal working hours (9:00 to 16:30)

Aerial Sports

  • Aerial sports clubs should display maps showing the location of overhead lines.
  • If your club does not have this, you should contact us on 03457 643 643.
  • When doing aerial sports - parachuting, paragliding, hang gliding or any others - always navigate from a map that shows all overhead lines as electricity lines, especially those on wooden poles, are difficult to identify from the air.
  • Club members should be instructed in rescue and first aid procedures.
  • If anyone collides with or becomes entangled in electricity lines or electricity equipment they should not move until help arrives.


  • When fishing, you must always ensure you are at least 30 metres (100ft) away from all overhead lines, poles and other electricity equipment.
  • Measure the distance along the ground to make sure it is adequate and safe.
  • Being close to any electricity equipment while fishing is extremely dangerous because rods, poles, and fishing lines can all conduct electricity.
  • Ensure that children are aware of these risks and are supported in calculating the safe distance.
  • If you own, lease or make fishing waters available where overhead lines are present, make sure that you put up safety signs and that they remain visible.
  • You can get these signs, free of charge, by contacting us via this form, or by calling 03457 643 643. • General warning signs for anglers are yellow and warn of overhead lines close to water.
  • Prohibition notice signs warn anglers that no fishing is permitted within 30 metres of overhead lines.


  • Before you sail - plan your route carefully when transporting your yacht or sailing boat to the harbour and make sure you have adequate clearance under overhead lines.
  • When you are stepping your mast or going towards the launching ramp be sure to check that the area is totally clear of overhead lines. Masts can conduct electricity – always make sure that your mast stays at least 5 metres away from all overhead lines.
  • While you sail - look out for overhead lines that cross waterways and ensure that your boat has proper clearance.
  • After you sail - when removing your boat from the water inspect the surrounding area for overhead lines which may come into contact with the mast as you step it and store it for travel.