We all have seen or hung up posters of missing pets, upcoming garage sales, and other miscellaneous announcements on utility poles. While it may seem like a harmless act, with no malice intended, these little pieces of paper can cause considerable harm to utility workers and are illegal in many areas.
Utility workers are tasked with climbing those same utility poles to work around power lines that carry 7,200 or more volts of electricity. Foreign objects such as staples or nails embedded in the pole can lead to the utility worker snagging or getting a hole in their gloves. Those gloves are meant to insulate workers from high voltage and protect them from being electrocuted.
Hunting stands and basketball hoops are other items that have been found attached to utility poles. It is extremely dangerous for utility workers, yourself, and anyone who uses these items. Keep as much distance between yourself and overhead power lines when doing any outdoor activity. Satellite dishes have also been found attached to utility poles. This is not only a hazard for utility crews, but also the dish installer and under no circumstance should they ever be attached to utility poles.
“Fallen poles mean power outages, which at the very least are an inconvenience. Utilities must spend valuable resources on repairing or replacing damaged utility poles.”
There’s also a public safety risk that comes with posting signs and other items on utility poles. Nails, staples, and other materials put into wooden utility poles can cause poles to deteriorate more quickly. This can reduce their structural integrity and stability, increasing the risk for the pole to fall over when struck by a vehicle.
“Fallen poles mean power outages, which at the very least are an inconvenience,” says Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. “Utilities must spend valuable resources on repairing or replacing damaged utility poles.” Downed lines also create dangers for pedestrians and motorists. If you see a downed power line stay away and call 911.
Keep yourself and those in your community safe by not posting or hanging anything on utility poles. Find other alternatives to post in your community, such as yard stakes or online community groups.
For more information on staying safe around power lines, utility poles, and electricity, visit SafeElectricity.org.
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