PG&E Tips of the Trade
If You Make Overhead Contact
811 Know what's below. Call before you dig.

Dig safe
Damage to a natural gas pipeline can cause a gas leak that can result in a fire, explosion or injuries.

Call 811 or use the online ticket system at at least two working days (not including the date of notification) prior to starting work.

Stay alert and look up
Look up and around before lifting or moving irrigation pipes or ladders. Check for power lines, poles and support wires before driving or operating equipment.

Injury or possible death can result from contact with any overhead or underground power line, large or small. Even the service wires that run from utility poles to buildings and pumps are potentially dangerous.

Keep yourself and all tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines. Only qualified line-clearance tree trimmers can work in the 10-foot safety zone.

High voltages require a larger safety zone. Before work begins, your crew leader must brief you about power line voltages in your work area and the clearances required to get the job done safely.

Make the call
If you suspect a gas leak or if you contact a gas pipeline or electric power line, call 911 immediately then PG&E at:


Review these tips with coworkers at your tailgate or tool box meetings before work begins to help avoid potential hazards when working near overhead and underground utilities.

If your equipment contacts a power line:
  • Stay on the equipment until PG&E says it is safe
    to get off.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone on the ground who touches the equipment may be seriously injured.
  • Call 911 immediately and then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Leaving your equipment
If you must leave your vehicle because of imminent risk from fire or other serious safety hazard:

Leave equipment by jumping clear of vehicle and line
  • Remove loose items of clothing, jewelry, seat belts and anything else that could obstruct you.
  • Jump entirely clear of the vehicle and the line, as far away as possible.
  • As you jump, keep both feet together and land without touching the ground and equipment at the same time.
  • After you land, do not touch the vehicle or line.
  • Shuffle away with small steps or hop away on two feet keeping both feet together at all times.

Would you like to know more?
Additional digging guidelines, emergency procedures, case studies, instructional videos and training tools can all be found at no charge to you on the PG&E e-SMARTworkers website. Here you can also order free safety materials for contractors and tree workers.

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