Repairing and/or replacing damaged power lines in severe winter weather conditions are especially hazardous. a major hazard is snow because the moisture can reduce the insulation value of protective equipment, and could cause electrocution.
In these conditions, de-energized work is safer, but if energized work must be done, qualified workers and supervisors must first do a hazard analysis that includes evaluating the weather conditions and identifying how to safely do the job.
Other potential hazards include:
Electrocution by contacting downed energized power lines, or contacting objects, such as broken tree limbs, in contact with downed energized power lines.
Fires caused by an energized line or equipment failure.
Being struck or crushed by falling tree limbs, collapsing poles, etc.
When working on downed or damaged power lines, electrical utility workers should use safe work practices, appropriate tools, and equipment (including personal protective equipment (PPE)). Extra caution should be exercised when working in adverse weather conditions. Learn more at Contact with Power Lines (OSHA Construction eTool).
Working Near Downed or Damaged power lines
Assume all power lines are energized and stay clear of any downed or damaged power lines. Establish a safe distance from power lines and report any incidents to the responsible authority. Only properly-trained electrical utility workers can handle damaged power lines. Learn more at: Contact with Power Lines (OSHA Construction eTool) and Working Safely Around Downed Electrical Wires (OSHA Fact Sheet).