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Contractor Safety

Safety, up and down.

Look over the following for things you can do to stay safe while working underground or overhead.

When you’re working underground, it all comes down to four words: call before you dig.

Use www.callbeforeyoudig.org, the following 800 numbers or the national 811 number to connect with someone two days before you start excavating, so you can find out where the underground utility lines are located - and do your job safely.

Washington: (800) 424-5555

Idaho Counties:

  • Benewah, Shoshone (800) 398-3285
  • Bonner, Boundary (800) 626-4950
  • Clearwater, Latah (800) 342-1585
  • Idaho, Lewis, Nez Perce (800) 342-1585
  • Kootenai (800) 428-4950

Oregon: (800) 332-2344

Don’t forget to look up, too.

  • Note where power lines are located before you get started on a project. We may be able to shut off service while you work. Call us at (800) 227-9187 to find out.
  • Never bring ladders, antennas, irrigation pipe, long-handled tools or other items within 10 feet of an overhead power line. That’s what federal and state laws require, along with an additional .4 inch for every 1,000 volts over 50,000. If you don’t know the voltage of a line, call us at (800) 227-9187.
  • Be careful when pruning, trimming or felling trees. Stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • If you see tree branches in our transmission or distribution lines, call us immediately at (800) 227-9187. Where a service line crosses over private property - like from a power pole to your house - it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to keep branches clear of power lines. You’ll be safest if you use a professional tree trimmer to get the job done. Please contact us with any questions or apparent problems with trees or tree limbs.
  • Any time you operate a backhoe, crane or other heavy construction equipment, have another person act as a spotter to help you stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • If you’re operating equipment that contacts a line, don’t panic. Stay in the vehicle or on the equipment until an Avista representative arrives and determines its safe to exit. Warn others to stay away.
  • Should you absolutely need to exit before Avista arrives, jump as far away from the vehicle or equipment as you can. Land with both feet together and shuffle away from the site. Be sure no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time.
  • Don’t return to the vehicle until someone from Avista says it’s safe.
  • Never attempt to rescue someone else in the same situation. Call us at (800) 227-9187.

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