Who's Responsible to Notify About Temporary Work Near High Voltage Line ?
Section 752.003 of the Texas Health and Safety Code provides that a party "responsible" for temporary work being performed near a high voltage overhead line must notify the operator of the line at least 48 hours before the work begins and make arrangements with the operator of the power line for its temporary de-energization. See TEX HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. 752.003(a),(b) (Vernon 1992).
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined the statutory reference to the person or persons "responsible" focuses on the parties who "desire to temporarily carry on the work and who therefore exercise some degree of control over the work site." See Hullum v. Skyhook Corp., 753 F.2d 1334, 1337 (5th Cir.1985) (interpreting TEX. REV. CIV. STAT. art. 1436c (codified at TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. 752.001, et seq.)). the court looked at five factors:
(1) knowledge of the specific proposed location of the work;
(2) participation in deciding where the work needed to be performed;
(3) presence at the worksite;
(4) involvement after hiring a contractor to perform services;
(5) ownership interest in the property where the work was conducted. See Hullum, 753 F.2d at 1337.
Liability under the statute is focused on parties who exercise "some degree of control" over the work site because those parties have knowledge of where the work is to be done and, therefore, will most likely know whether or not the work will be performed near a power line. See id.
This interpretation of the statute advances the Texas legislature's policy of worker safety and bolsters the deterrent impact of the statute on those parties who do exercise control over the work site. See id.