Electricity is integral to our daily lives, powering our homes, schools, hospitals, businesses and communities. Despite its positive contribution to society, electricity is hazardous by nature, especially when mishandled.

Human error accounts for 80 per cent of electrocution-related deaths in Ontario, most of which are preventable.[1] Understanding the dangers electricity can pose, the Electrical Safety Authority plays a big role in enhancing electrical safety in Ontario. Local hydro utilities help support this mandate by also raising public awareness around electrical safety to help avoid serious or even fatal injuries all year-round.

Below are five important tips on how to stay safe when using electricity or exposed to potential electrical hazards:

  1. Be Careful Around Electrical Appliances: Always unplug electrical appliances before cleaning them. Also, remember to never put a metal object in live parts of appliances or outlets, as it can result in a serious or even fatal injury! For more helpful electrical safety guidelines, read Canadian Niagara Power’s handbook.
  2. Handle Emergencies Properly: If you witness someone shocked by a faulty appliance, do not touch them or the appliance until it is unplugged from the outlet as the current could still be live. The same goes for a person or vehicle in contact with powerlines. Call 911 immediately and wait until the local hydro utility shuts off the power. Learn more about how to handle electricity-related emergencies by visiting Alectra’s website.
  3. Consult Before You Dig: Before starting any exterior work on a residential property, whether digging or planting a tree, make sure to call your local hydro utility to determine the location of underground powerlines. It is important to also make sure not to plant trees close to overhead powerlines. For more information, please check out Halton Hills Hydro’s helpful tips!
  4. Let Trained Professionals Trim or Remove Trees: If you are planning to trim your tree or have it removed in close vicinity to powerlines, reach out to your local hydro utility to have them send professionals to do it. Trees located near powerlines must be managed properly to ensure public safety, protect property and maintain electric reliability. For more advice like this, go to Collus PowerStream’s website.
  5. Watch Out for Powerlines when Outdoors: Make sure there are no powerlines close by when doing outdoor work around your property. You should remain at least 10 feet away from the lines, including ladders, scaffolds and any other apparatus. Coming in contact with a downed wire could be fatal, always stay at least 10 metres back, alert others of the hazard, and notify your local hydro utility. Learn more on Lakefront Utility Services’ website.

If you ever find yourself in these dangerous circumstances, keep these safety tips in mind. Knowledge is power and following these easy tips can help save your life and the lives of others.

Footnote

[1] “Electrical Safety.” Canadian Niagara Power, Canadian Niagara Power Inc., 20 June 2018, www.cnpower.com/safety/electrical-safety.