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Lifts rigged with electrical lighting should not be operated over low voltage electrical utility lines.

Does it mean that the location of the lifts should not be on low voltage electrical utility lines? Does "over" refer to the location of the lift, which means that the lift should not be located on the utility lines?

  • Could you provide more context? Gustavson's answer may be correct, but it's difficult to say without more information. – Andrew Mar 31 at 17:21
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These are the types of "lift" being referred to. They are often used in the motion picture and television industries. Those industries' Contract Services Administration Trust Fund ("CSATF") guidelines for use of these advise:

POWER LINES

  1. Use caution when working near lines of lower voltage. Aerial lifts rigged with electrical lighting, special effects, or grip equipment should not be operated over low voltage electrical utility lines (600 volts or less), including supply lines for residences.

  2. The operation of scissor or aerial boom lifts OVER energized, high-voltage lines of any sort is prohibited at all times.

The guidelines previously mention restrictions on working under high-voltage lines, and it is clear that the terms 'under' and 'over' are to be interpreted as adverbs of place or location.

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  • Wow, this was it. Andrew's guess was almost right and you furnished the very knowledge having been needed. – Smart Humanism Mar 31 at 20:54
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    Usage note: These things are called 'lifts' in both British and American English, but also what Americans call 'elevators' are usually called 'lifts' in Britain. – Michael Harvey Mar 31 at 21:39
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My understanding is that "over" does not express location there but means or instrument.

Therefore, the sentence should be interpreted as:

Lifts rigged with electrical lighting should not be operated by using low voltage electrical utility lines.

  • You may be right, but it's hard to say without more context. I found a similar sentence in a safety sheet, in a section that suggests "over" means "above". – Andrew Mar 31 at 17:33
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Here is a similar excerpt from a safety sheet: "GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF SCISSOR LIFTS (ELEVATING WORK PLATFORMS) AND AERIAL BOOM LIFTS (EXTENSIBLE BOOM PLATFORMS)";

POWER LINES:

  1. Use caution when working near lines of lower voltage.
    Aerial lifts rigged with electrical lighting, special effects, or grip equipment should not be operated over low voltage electrical utility lines (600 volts or less), including supply lines for residences.

In this context it's clear that "over" means "located above" -- in other words, the lift should not be physically above lower-voltage power lines, possibly because of the danger of the lift collapsing onto the power lines and causing a short or a fire or some other unwanted and dangerous result.

(I'm not an experienced electrician and so I don't understand why this would be more of a danger than if they are located over higher-voltage power lines. It seems to me a bad idea to locate a lift over any power lines, but I suppose there is less danger if the lines carry similar voltage.)

Gustavson's answer would be correct if the context meant that the lifts were powered by the lower-voltage electrical lines, meaning that the lines might not provide enough electricity to safely operate the lift. However, it does not seem like the right definition in this context.

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