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Call Before You Reach

Be aware of overhead power lines

Top of crane in airWe all know to call 811 before digging. But you should also call 811 before working around overhead power lines.

The same 811 number protects you from inadvertent contact with both underground and overhead electrical hazards.

The Georgia High Voltage Safety Act requires the person responsible for work within 10 feet of overhead power lines to:

  • Notify the Utilities Protection Center (UPC) by calling 811.
  • Give the UPC at least 72 hours notice (excluding weekends and holidays).
  • Include these items in the notification: location, person in charge of work along with address and phone number, type of work and completion date.
  • Assure that no work is started until the utility takes safety precautions against accidental contact.
  • Give new notice if the work is delayed.

Besides the possibility of injury or death, not following the law has serious consequences. The first offense carries a $1,000 fine. Second and subsequent offenses are a $3,000 fine. The responsible person is also liable for any injury or damage that occurs.

How do you know when to call 811? Use this simple rule: If you're even in doubt, call.


High Voltage Electric Lines – An electric line or lines installed above ground of at least 750 volts. (Most Walton EMC lines are 14,400 volts.)

Work – Any physical act of performing or preparing to perform any activity under, over, by or near high voltage lines including, but not limited to, the operation, erection, handling, storage or transportation of any tools, machinery, ladders, antennas, equipment, supplies, materials or apparatus or other structure.