Louisiana Overhead Power Line Safety Act

The state of Louisiana has passed new legislation that makes it an illegal to perform any
type of work with in 10 feet of high voltage overhead energized power lines. This law
became effective on January 1, 2002 and makes it illegal for unauthorized workers to
perform any activity, including the moving of equipment, within 10 feet of any high
voltage line.

Contractors must make arrangements with the owners of the power lines for de-
energization and must bear the cost of such work by the power company. The power

company must be given 48 hours notice to make arrangements to the line.
Owners and operators of cranes and boom trucks should take special notice of this new
law. Apparently, power company personnel have been educated on the new law and
have been empowered to issue Notices of Warning. One such notice was delivered to
an electrical contractor when he was spotted performing work within the 10 foot
protection radius. The Notice from Entergy was only a warning and
went on to provide a summary of the new law, a booklet about crane operation, safety
tips and safety stickers.
The Lafayette Consolidated Government has sent notice to all licensed contractors they
have on file advising them of the new law. The notice goes onto to give the phone
number of regional utility contact so notice of work can be given and appropriate action
taken by the power company to prevent injury and service disruption.
While OSHA has federal law that seeks to achieve the same outcome, the prevention of
electrocution of workers from overhead power lines, perhaps the Electric Companies
thought there was a need for local legal authority to take action in the event a violation.
This pro-action on the part of the Electric Companies is a positive activity as OSHA
does not have the resources (opinion) to police this very serious loss exposure.
The law does not state what is a high voltage overhead power line but perhaps that is
irrelevant. Also, the law does not state what the penalty will be for such an infraction
and that is a shortcoming.
The actual text of the law is reprinted below for review:

No person shall, individually or through an agent or employee, perform any function
or activity upon any land, building, highway, waterway, or other premises, if at any
time during the performance of any function or activity it is possible that the person
performing the function or activity shall move or be placed within ten feet of any
high voltage overhead line, or if it is possible for any part of any tool, equipment,
machinery, or material used, handled, or stored by such person to be brought within
ten feet of any high voltage overhead line or conductor during the performance of
such function or activity.
When any person desires to temporarily carry on any function, activity, work, or
operation in closer proximity to any high voltage overhead line than permitted by this
Chapter, the person or persons responsible for the work to be done shall promptly
notify the owner or operator of the high voltage overhead line prior to the scheduled
commencement of the work. Such notice shall be reasonable, considering the work to
be done; however, the notice shall not be less than forty-eight hours prior to the
scheduled commencement of the work, exclusive of holidays and weekends, except in
emergency situations that include police, fire, and rescue emergencies, in which case
the notice shall be made as soon as possible.
The work shall be performed only after satisfactory mutual arrangements have been
negotiated between the owner or operator of the high voltage overhead lines and the
person or persons responsible for the work to be done. The owner or operator of the
lines shall initiate the agreed upon safety arrangements within three working days
and shall complete the work promptly, subject to emergency weather conditions.
Arrangements may include placement of temporary mechanical barriers separating
and preventing contact between material, equipment, or persons and high voltage
overhead lines; temporary de-energization and grounding; temporary location or
raising of the lines; or by other means deemed appropriate by the owner or operator
of the lines.
The actual expense incurred by any operator or owner of high voltage overhead lines
in providing clearances established in this Section shall be paid by the person or
persons responsible for the work to be done in the vicinity thereof. The owner or
operator of me lines may require an estimated payment of such actual expense in