The Impact of Powerline Contact is Instant and Lethal – Powerline Safety Week Starts May 14 with Ontario-wide Education Campaign
Mississauga, ON (May 14, 2018) - Each year, incidents across the province highlight a deadly, but often ignored danger near homes and on jobsites: powerlines. Over a 10-year period, there were more than 1,300 overhead powerline contacts in Ontario resulting in a total of 23 deaths, with many more seriously injured by burns. From May 14 to 20th Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA’s) Powerline Safety Week reminds people across the province to stay aware of overhead powerlines when doing work at home or on the job.
“Electricity is an unforgiving force that can kill or injure in the blink of an eye,” says Scott Saint, Chief Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority. “All it takes is one careless moment to change your life and the lives of your family and friends.”
Last year, two incidents in Peterborough demonstrated the hazards of powerlines both at work and around the home. In May, a local Peterborough man died after contacting an overhead powerline while he was helping his neighbour trim a tree. Later that summer, a telecommunications worker was killed on the job.
“Powerline Safety Week is an opportunity to remind Ontarians that activities as simple as cleaning the eavestroughs or doing landscaping can turn deadly if they don’t respect the power,” adds Saint. “And it doesn’t even require contact; just getting too close to a powerline can kill you or cause serious injury.”
ESA’s 2018 Powerline Safety Week campaign includes compelling digital and television advertising targeting both construction workers and homeowners; life-saving tips at esasafe.com/powerlinesafety; social media content aimed at educating Ontarians on the risks associated with powerlines; and partnerships with local electric utilities to help spread the powerline safety message.
5 Tips to #RespectThePower at Home:
1. Locate the wires. Before starting any outdoor job, first look up, look out and locate the powerlines. Then keep track of where they are as you move around your yard.
2. Stay back three metres from all powerlines – that means you as well as any tools such as ladders or pruners. Coming too close to the wires can cause electricity to jump or “arc” to you or your tools.
3. Never attach, drape or brace anything on a powerline. And never grab a line for balance when working at heights.
4. Carry ladders, pruners and other long equipment horizontally, not vertically. This helps you avoid, touching or attract arcing from an overhead line as you move around your yard.
5. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines and call Ontario One Call before you dig to ensure underground cables and other utility-owned equipment are located and marked. If existing trees have grown into or close to powerlines, contact a trained utility arborist or your local electric utility to have the tree safely trimmed.
5 Tips to #RespectThePower at Work:
1. Look up, look out! Identify all powerlines on site and make sure people and equipment stay at least three metres away to prevent an incident. Electricity can jump to you or your equipment if you’re too close to a powerline.
2. Drivers of dump trucks and other high-reach vehicles must get a signaller to ensure equipment doesn’t come within three metres of overhead powerlines. This is outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
3. Ensure that dump trucks on site drop their box after dumping the load. It’s good practice to have a raised box indicator installed in the truck to remind the driver the box is raised.
4. Stay alert! Many incidents happen at the end of the day when workers are tired or rushing to finish a job.
5. If wires fall down on the truck or the ground, always assume they are still energized. Stay in the vehicle, call 911 and keep everyone back at least 10 metres – the length of a school bus. Only the local utility worker on-site can confirm when the power is off and tell you when it’s safe to exit the vehicle.
About the Electrical Safety Authority
The Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.
For further information:
Electrical Safety Authority Media Relations
905-712-7819 or Media.ESA@electricalsafety.on.ca