Photographer: Tomas Ärlemo

Safety around power lines

Our goal is that no accidents caused by electricity take place on or around Svenska kraftnät facilities. Over the past ten years, we have fortunately had no serious accidents. But it is always important to be careful when dealing with electricity.

Our facilities are built to minimize the risk of accidents. They are maintained and monitored so that no unexpected errors occur that may affect the public.

The site contains many headlines. Use the links below to go directly to the headline.

For those who live near a power line
Safety distance
Electrical breakdown warning
Outdoor activities and play near or below our lines
Playing with kites
Fishing near an overhead power line
Hunting tower
Bicycling under power line
Fire and explosive substances
Rules for buildings under or near a power line
Rules for fences
Forestry near a power line
Earthworks and farming near a power line
To consider when performing irrigation
If cultivation fabric blows away
Be careful when digging near underground cables
Working with cranes under our lines
No earth masses under the line
For those who lay electricity/telecommunications cables and pipelines

For those who live near a power line

Svenska kraftnät  is responsible for electrical safety on the grid, but everyone must be careful when it comes to electricity. It is important that you follow the rules and applicable safety distance. A fallen tree, or a machine that is handled carelessly can harm people or black out an entire city. Take care and never take risks close to power lines. Electricity can cause damage even if you do not touch the line itself. The voltage levels are so high that accidents can occur several meters from the power line.

Never touch a downed line or anything in contact with the line, such as a tree or NRMM.

Safety distance

It is important that nobody or anything is too close to a power line. The illustration below shows the safety distance, i.e. the distance from the power line's lead lines that neither humans, machines, or anything else can be within.

Vertically down from the power line, the safety distance must be at least 5.5 meters. Horizontally from the power line the safety distance is at least 6.5 meters. These are absolute minimum distances and depending on experience or machinery and tools, the distance can be increased. See the illustration below.

Please note that professionals working within Svenska kraftnät facilities must comply with the rules on safe distances etcetera that apply to our contractors.

Safety distance

 

Power line heights above ground vary with the seasons and load, but they hang a minimum of about 7 meters above ground. The distance may be reduced when the ground is covered with snow. One can never assume that a previously measured distance is still valid.

Always keep to the safety distance when working near the line! Before you start, always make an assessment as to whether there is any risk that intentionally or unintentionally you will come within the safe distance. If you think so, please contact Svenska kraftnät. We can help you to assess the risk and find out how the work can be performed safely.

To prevent tools or machines coming within the safe distance, overhead power line warning gantry must be built on the works roads. The height of these depends on the line's design and is selected after contact with Svenska kraftnät.

In case of any damage to pylons or braces, immediately contact Svenska kraftnät on telephone number +46 10-475 80 00.

Contact Svenska kraftnät for information on what to do.

Electrical breakdown warning

An electrical flashover (sparks) from a power line involves substantial danger to persons and property. In addition to those directly affected, even people around the flashover suffer. The flashover may also involve a high risk that nearby equipment is damaged.

Ground currents that arise around the flashover can affect the surrounding low voltage, telecommunication, television and computer networks. At worst, the flashover can also lead to fires on land or property.

If there is an electrical flashover, the line will immediately be disconnected. Within one second the line will be automatically connected again, but if the problem persists the line will be immediately disconnected again. Before Svenska kraftnät manually connects the line again, we need to know if any person is injured or if the line has received damage that makes it dangerous to reconnect it. Therefore, it is important to:

  •  Immediately report an accident by contacting Svenska kraftnät on telephone +46 10-475 80 00
  •  Provide the information shown on the line pylon when you call us. On each pylon there is a sign that says who the line owner is, what the line is called (e.g. CL6 S3) and the pylon number (e.g. 954).

Outdoor activities and play near or below our lines

Our pylons and stations are absolutely not playgrounds. If children get into our facilities or up our pylons, it can be fatal. Be sure to always oversee your and other people's children near our facilities.

Given the distance between the power line's line and the ground, no trampolines, climbing frames or other play equipment is to be placed under our power lines.

Our facilities are built with impenetrable fence. Fences and gates are monitored regularly. But sometimes both animals and people can tamper with these fences, for example by digging holes under the fences or cutting them. Sometimes storm-felled trees can damage fences.

Contact Svenska kraftnät if you discover damage.

Playing with kites

Kite lines can conduct current when in contact with power lines. Different kite lines present different dangers but above all, they are dangerous if they are wet. Do not therefore play with kites near power lines.
Contact Svenska kraftnät if a kite gets stuck. Do not attempt to use tools or bars to free a kite!   

Child playing with a kite close to power lines  

Fishing near an overhead power line

Fishing lines and rods can conduct electricity when in contact with power lines.

If you fish, make sure the rod or fishing line comes no closer than 5 meters from the power line voltage carrying conductors.

Man fishing close to power lines

Hunting tower

Contact Svenska kraftnät if you wish to place a hunting tower closer than 6 meters away from a power line. 

Bicycling under power line

It is a known phenomenon that you can get an electric shock if you ride under an overhead power line. It can be unpleasant but it is completely harmless because the electric current is so small. The phenomenon usually occurs in hot and dry weather, in summer, but may also occur at other times. The cause of the electric shock is the difference in potential that occurs between you on the bike and the ground (soil) and can also be influenced by your clothing material.

You can easily avoid this by having skin contact with any metal part of the bike, for example having a hand or thumb on the handlebar where the metal is bare, provided that you do not have gloves and do this before bicycling under the power line.

Fire and explosive substances

You may not light a fire under a power line as lines and insulators can be damaged. There is also a high risk that the line is short circuited due to soot particles in the hot smoke.

This applies to explosives and if you are going to blast:

Contact Svenska kraftnät no later than 14 days in advance if you are going to blast closer than 100 meters from a power line. Ignition wires and ignition cap wires must not come into contact with the ground within 50 meters of the power line. There is a risk of inadvertent initiation due to soil potentials from the power line. Non-electric ignition systems, such as Nonel, must be used near lines.

Explosives must not be located closer to the power line than: 

  220 kV line 400 kV line

Distance between explosive and immediate phase line

100 meter

100 meter

Petrol tanks, diesel tanks or depots with flammable materials must not be placed closer to the power line than:

  220 kV line 400 kV line

Distance between flammable materials and the next phase line

100 meter

100 meter

 

Rules for buildings under or near a power line

Buildings must not be placed under a power line. Exceptions are smaller buildings without electricity such as outbuildings, greenhouses, sheds or storage buildings.

  •  Remember that the safety distance must be maintained even if a person stands on the roof's highest point.
  •  Note that the distance between the line and the ground can vary with the season and how much the line is overloaded.
  •  Huts and storage buildings with electricity must be placed at least 10 meters from the nearest outer phase of the power line.
  •  The minimum distance near the line for lighting masts, flagpoles, or other tall structures are the mast's total length plus 10 meters.
  •  Contact Svenska kraftnät on what applies in your case.

Rules for fences

Power line electric and magnetic fields can charge fences and make them live.

Contact Svenska kraftnät if you want to build a fence that

  • lies closer than  20 meters from the power line
  • is more than 50 meters long and runs parallel with the line within a distance of 50 meters from the line. 

Forestry near a power line

 If a tree is felled next to a power line then this can cause electrical accidents or power cuts if the tree ends up on the line. Always contact Svenska kraftnät if there is a risk that a tree will fall closer than 3.5 meters from the lines.

Always keep to the safety distance when working near lines. If damage should occur to the pylons and braces, contact Svenska kraftnät immediately by telephone on +46 10-475 80 00

 If you are driving a forestry machine it is important to be careful around and under the power lines.

  • Contact Svenska kraftnät if your vehicle together with equipment and any cargo is higher than 3.3 meters. Then we make an assessment of the current      line
  •  Study the terrain in advance where the line goes and crosses the line path near the poles. Neither vehicles, equipment or cargo must come inside the power line safety distance.
  •  Mark out the pylon's bracing wires in advance so that you do not run into them accidentally so that they become damaged. This can lead to serious damage to the line.
  •  Never drive between pylon legs or between pylon and brace. The pylon can be seriously damaged and the line fall      down.
  •  Never climb up onto the load on a forestry machine under a power line, it is dangerous!
  •  It is forbidden to park vehicles or machines closer than 10 meters from the line.
  •  Keep in mind that a vehicle or a machine can easily be transformed into an exciting playground for children. A game that can be very dangerous if it is parked under the line.
  • Works roads that run under line corridors must have their height restricted by a gantry mounted at the line corridor boundary. Gantry height must be chosen in agreement with Svenska kraftnät.
  •  Never refuel a vehicle or machine closer than 60 meters from a power line.
  •  You may not store wood or other material under or near power lines.
  •  Controlled ground or prescribed burning is not permitted under or near Svenska kraftnät lines. Heat from a burning can damage important parts of the power      line. It may cause malfunctions or damage to persons or property.

Landowners may burn the land up to 20 meters from the line. If you are planning such a controlled ground or prescribed burning, you must do the following:

  • Inform Svenska kraftnät on telephone +46 10-475 80 00.
  •  Make a boundary line parallel to the line, 20 meters from the line's outer phase. It can either be dug up or made of sand laid in a half meter wide swath.
  •  Burn only if the wind direction is away from the power line. You may not spray water on the phase line or insulator chains. If the fire is uncontrolled, no person is to be in the line corridor as there is a risk of receiving an electric shock in the smoke column.

Earthworks and farming near a power line

As the driver of NRMMs, it is important to be cautious when driving machines under power lines.

Consider the following:

  •  Plan in advance to find out how high your machine is to determine whether      you can freely pass under the power line.
  •  Keep to the safety distance!
  • Contact Svenska kraftnät if your vehicle together with equipment and load is higher than 3.3 meters. Then we can perform an  assessment of the current line.
  •  Vehicles up to 4.3 meters tall can cross our power lines without special precautions.
  • Works roads that run under line corridors must have their height restricted by a gantry mounted at the line corridor boundary. Gantry height must be chosen in agreement with Svenska kraftnät.
  •  Never drive between pylon legs or between pylon and brace. The      pylon can be seriously damaged and the line fall down.
  • Never climb up onto a vehicle or machine under a power line.
  • It is forbidden to park vehicles or  machines closer than 10 meters from a line.
  • Never refuel a vehicle or machine closer than 60 meters from a power line.
  •  Keep in mind that a vehicle or a machine can easily be transformed into an exciting playground for children. A game that can be very dangerous if it is parked under the line.
  • Be careful not to damage the ground conductor that is buried along the line. It is used for grounding the pylons so they do not become live. If the ground wire snaps off while plowing, digging ditches, or doing other ground works under the power line, do not try to fix it yourself! Contact Svenska kraftnät immediately.

To consider when performing irrigation

During irrigation fragmented jets can hit a power line. This is usually harmless. But if salt or polluted water is used, the water can conduct electricity and then it is dangerous to touch the irrigation machine.

If there is a large irrigation system which has metal pipes on the ground and this is placed near or under a power line, then this can form electrical currents in the pipes. If this is properly installed, the currents are harmless, but still be careful.

Contact Svenska kraftnät about irrigation that

  • lies closer than 20 meters from the power line
  • is more than 50 meters long and runs parallel with the line within a distance of 50 meters from the line . 

If cultivation fabric blows away

If you use cultivation fabric then this can come adrift and blow onto the power line. Contact Svenska kraftnät and we will send personnel to remove the fabric in a safe manner.

  •  Never attempt to remove fabric that has ended up on one of our facilities, it is highly dangerous, especially in wet weather!
  •  Attach fabric tightly so that it can handle strong winds.
  •  Keep in mind that the air can be heated under the fabric and provide lifting power that can rip the fabric.

Be careful when digging near underground cables

Underground cables are rare on the national grid. But if you dig near underground cables, you need to be very careful before you put a spade in the ground. Svenska kraftnät cables are well insulated with a thick shell, but this cover is also very fragile.

Above the cables are plastic notice protection signs that provide operators and investigative staff a warning before a cable is found. It is important to be alert and think before you dig. On the website Ledningskollen.se you can find out if Svenska kraftnät has underground cables where you plan to dig.

Working with cranes under our lines

Cranes must not be placed so that the boom or load intentionally or unintentionally lies within the safety distance of 6 meters from the line's phase line. This distance should be kept even if the crane or equivalent falls over.

Between the mast's ultimate end (including the extension arm) and the line, there must be a safety distance that corresponds to the entire length of the mast plus 6 meters. Measure the distance with the mast directed towards the line. It is important that the safety distance is always maintained throughout the work.

Measuring with the naked eye does not meet the requirements for measurement, so use measuring instruments. Strong winds can force the power line's lines and insulator chains to move. Take this into consideration when calculating the safety distance.

Before the crane is moved, any driveways must be marked with warning tape and the driveways are to be measured. The crane may only be moved on the selected driveway, and must be monitored by a trained signalman. Fixed or mobile tower cranes must not be positioned so that any part of the crane or load comes inside the electrical installation's safety distance. To prevent accidental movement the crane must be blocked mechanically.

If fixed cranes are used this must be stated in the crane plan. If a machine is used which cannot be blocked and which under incorrect operation or failure may come in contact with an electrical plant part, the work must be carried out under so-called surveillance. The machine must then be connected to the power line ground terminal or ground rods.

No earth masses under the line

It forbidden by law to change the soil structure under the line. This means that it is forbidden to place earth masses under the line. When earth masses are put in place, this changes the existing ground level and the line's construction conditions. This means that people can unconsciously come inside the safety distance. Carelessly putting earth masses too close to pylons and line braces may affect line safety and in the worst case, cause line failure.

For those who lay electricity/telecommunications cables and pipelines

If you are installing electricity and telecommunication lines or metallic pipes there are special restrictions.

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