Drone safety tips

Whether you use a drone for surveying, inspections or monitoring job progress, flying it safely on or around a construction site can be tricky. Learn how to keep your drone from interfering in electric power lines or substations, and what to do if your drone goes where it shouldn’t.

Drone safety

It is especially dangerous to fly drones near overhead power lines or electric substations. A drone that hits a high-voltage power line, transformer or other electrical equipment can cause a power outage. Not only that, electricity from the lines or equipment can make the drone so hot it catches fire. From there, the fire can spread to nearby trees or buildings.

So always steer your drone toward open areas, far away from power lines and substations. This is extra important if it is windy. Drones are lightweight, and even if you think you’ve got one under control, gusts of wind can take your drone off course.

Make safety your highest priority when flying your drone on or around construction sites.

No drone zone

Be sure to follow these Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Rules of the Sky for drones:

  1. Drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds must be registered with the FAA. To register your drone, visit faadronezone.faa.gov.
    – Flying an unregistered drone is a crime and can result in large fines.
  2. Always keep your drone in sight.
  3. Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property. This includes electric power lines and substations, wind turbines, water treatment facilities, utility poles, trees, people or other aircraft, or within 5 miles of an airport.
  4. Do not fly near or over a wildfire. It’s against the law and firefighting aircraft could be grounded, disrupting time-critical firefighting efforts. Unauthorized flights near wildfires face civil penalties totaling more than $20,000.
  5. Do not fly after dark.
  6. Never fly higher than 400 feet.
  7. Do not fly in adverse weather conditions, such as high winds or reduced visibility.

Do not fly your drone recklessly. It is capable of causing damage and destruction if you crash it into utility poles, electric power lines or other sensitive infrastructure.

Drone near power line

Never fly your drone over or into any of these:

  • Electric power lines
  • Utility poles
  • Electric substations
  • Water treatment facilities
  • Wind turbines
  • Airports
  • Other aircraft
  • Wildfires

If your drone becomes caught in an electric power line or an electric substation, do NOT try to retrieve it! You could contact live electrical wires or equipment and be seriously hurt, or even killed. Move far away from the area and warn others to move away as well. Call 911 immediately to report the incident. Be prepared to provide your address and the nearest cross street.

If your drone has caused an electric power line to fall to the ground, stay very far away! Even if they are not sparking or humming, fallen power lines can harm anyone who touches them or the ground nearby. Call 911 to report the fallen line.

Never attempt to retrieve a drone caught in power lines or substations. Call 911 instead.

Construction Worksite Drone Safety