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Warning: Signs on utility polls can cause harm

Damaged poleIn the summer we often see utility poles littered with fliers. While it may seem like a harmless act, these little pieces of paper can cause big harm for utility workers.

Utility workers are tasked with climbing these 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 voltages and protect them from being electrocuted.  

Bird houses 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.   

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 faster. 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, and electric 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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