Consumers Energy Reaches out to Contractors, Public: Be Careful Around Wires, Pipes When Working Outdoors


Resources Available Online to Promote Safety This Construction Season

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Consumers Energy is reaching out to contractors and others as Michigan weather warms up to remind them to look up and look down – to watch out for overhead electric wires and underground electric lines and gas pipelines when doing work outdoors.

“We are committed to the safety of everyone who works around our electric and gas systems throughout the state,” said Aaron Kantor, Consumers Energy’s director of emergency management and public safety. “It’s vitally important – and can be life-saving – for contractors and others doing outdoor work to take the time to learn and practice behaviors that will keep them away from danger.”

Consumers Energy this month sent mailings to contractors that highlighted electric and natural gas safety information. The energy provider is sharing safety kits and videos (in English and in Spanish) online

Kantor shared the following advice for those who are working near overhead electrical lines:

  • Always complete a pre-job safety briefing to ensure safety concerns are identified and mitigated.
  • Survey your job site every day to find overhead power lines, poles, and guy wires, and point them out to co-workers. Be alert for lines hidden by trees and buildings.
  • Review your emergency plan before work begins, so everyone knows what to do in case of power line contact.
  • Michigan safety standards require that anyone working near power lines stay at least 10 feet away, including any tools or equipment you are using. Metal ladders, cranes and some other specialized equipment require 20 feet of clearance.
  • Higher voltages also may require greater distances, contact MIOSHA for specific requirements. Also, contact Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 to verify voltages, if needed.
  • Clearly mark boundaries with tape, signs, or barricades to keep workers and equipment the required distance away.

    Kantor offered the following advice for anyone who is digging:

  • Contact MISS DIG 811 by calling 8-1-1 or by going to at least three full working days before you dig. They will arrange to have underground power lines and other utilities marked so you can dig a safe distance away.
  • Make sure your excavation site is clearly described on your staking request. White lining or staking the dig site can help.
  • Wait for utilities to be marked and check Positive Response before digging.
  • Respect the marks, hand-expose to verify location, and dig with care.
  • Any time you make contact with an underground utility, call us immediately.

“It is going to be a busy spring across Michigan, with construction and other projects taking place. We want to help make sure that every person working on a project goes home safely at the end of the day, every day,” Kantor said.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Media Contacts: Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394, or Debra Dodd, 517-545-8711

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