Take Charge When Operating Equipment Around Power Lines

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Lifting, Moving, & Setting Heavy Loads Around High-voltage Overhead Transmission Conductors.

Accidents involving contact with overhead power lines can not only damage equipment, but also cause serious injuries and even death.

Then Why Install Natural Gas Transmission Lines Close to Electric Transmission Lines?

A variety of factors are causing electric transmission lines and natural gas pipelines to be developed in close proximity to one another, sometimes within the same ROW (right-of-way). “Power sector directors and environment Agencies appreciate co-location because it can limit the proliferation of ROWs; limit the impacts on sensitive species and pristine areas and also minimize visual impact and new disturbance from access roads, said Paul Smokler, AECOM vice president.

“Trends within both the electric power and pipeline industries have increased the number of projects that co-located high voltage alternating current (HVAC) and high voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines with steel transmission pipelines in shared ROW, there is limited “buildable space” in many infrastructure locations and “the cost effective” route for one is likely a cost effective route for the other,” Smokler added.

Now we know why these two utilities are working in such close proximity. How can you stay safe when unloading, carrying, and setting heavy loads around electric transmission lines?

Cranes & Power Lines Don’t Mix

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 1926.1408 titled: Power line safety (up to 350 kV)–equipment operations; stipulate to keep a safe distance from power lines. Minimum clearance distances start at 20 feet and go beyond 50 feet depending on their nominal kV.

Recently Stevenson Crane Service, Inc. Lift Planners Were Challenged To Unload And Set A Line Heater

Indirect fired line heaters are used with high pressure natural gas streams to counteract the Joule-Thomson (JT) effect where a reduction in temperature occurs at the choke when the well stream pressure is rapidly reduced to sales line pressure.

how-many-pipelines-are-in-the-usFrom the gathering system, the natural gas moves into the transmission system, which is composed of about 272,000 miles of high-strength steel pipe. (American Gas Association)

Stevenson Crane Service was tasked with:

  • Picking the 35,000 lb. indirect fired line heater
  • Carrying the heater 100 yards
  • Working under overhead transmission lines
  • Traversing uneven muddy ground
  • Setting the heater on a pre-set foundation

What To Do Since Cranes And Power Lines Don’t Mix?

Don’t use a crane.

Stevenson’s lift planners decided to utilize two Manitou MHT10230s 50,700 lbs. capacity all terrain telehandlers.

Telehandlers are utility lifting machines, mounted on a four-wheel drive chassis and equipped with a telescopic boom. They are available with various lifting capacities ranging from 4,400 to 50,000 lbs. and capable of negotiating rough terrains. In other words, a forklift on super duper steroids.

Stevenson’s shop outfitted the Telehandlers with 3 hook jibs. The operators skillfully synchronized their moves working as one.

By utilizing these mighty Telehandlers Stevenson Crane Services was able to safely and efficiently set the indirect fired line heater while staying well under the 20’ distance requirement on overhead power lines.

Manitou Telehandler Moving Heater 5Stevenson’s skilled operators simultaneously pick the indirect in direct line heater from the flatbed being careful not to damage the load. The overhead lines are visible in the background.
Manitou Telehandler Moving Heater 6With one of the operators driving his telehandler in reverse the 100-yard journey begins through the uneven muddy terrain.
Manitou Telehandler Moving Heater 8The operators precisely set the in direct line heater in place to the satisfaction of the pipe crew.


– 08/01/2016 Transmission Hub By Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst.
– American Gas Association.

The Stevenson Crane team was able to complete this project on-time & on-budget. If you have any questions about this blog or have your own lifting project(s) coming up please contact Stevenson Crane at 630-972-9199 check out https://stevensoncrane.com or leave your comments below. Please consider sharing this blog with colleagues who might find it helpful.

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Stevenson Crane, Rigging & Heavy Haul is a national leader in rigging & heavy haul, crane & aerial lift rentals, crane sales, crane service, & aerial lifts since 1989.

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