Waterloo Region Electrical Utilities Urge You to Avoid Deadly Distractions to Stay Safe

Posted On Monday May 17, 2021

WATERLOO REGION & BRANT COUNTY ON (May 17, 2021) –Energy+ Inc. Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro Inc. and Waterloo North Hydro Inc. have joined forces to urge everyone working or playing outdoors to remain vigilant and exercise caution near powerlines. Outdoor DIY projects such as landscaping, building a new deck or taking down seasonal lights can be activities to tackle during the COVID-19 lockdown, but they can also be potentially dangerous.

No matter how momentary, one distraction near powerlines can cause severe injury or death. To avoid danger while working around your property or on a construction site, practice three critical steps: stop, look, and live. 

Powerline Safety Tips for Households:

  1. Look for overhead powerlines. Before starting any yard work or outdoor home maintenance, look up, look out and locate overhead powerlines. Be especially aware of powerlines hidden by or in trees.
  2. Stay back three metres from overhead powerlines. Getting too close to powerlines can cause electricity to jump or “arc” to your body or tools. Have someone watch to make sure you stay at least three metres away from powerlines.
  3. Carry ladders sideways. Never carry ladders or other equipment upright because they may come in contact or be too close to powerlines. Check for overhead powerlines before raising a ladder.
  4. Stay away from dangerous areas. Keep away from utility equipment in the community, and never climb utility poles. If a toy or tool ends up inside a transformer station, don’t climb in to get it yourself. Call your local electrical utility for help.
  5. Call or click before you dig. Powerlines are also buried underground. At least two weeks before starting any projects involving digging, click or call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 or www.OntarioOneCall.ca to request an underground cable locate, including natural gas, communications, powerlines, and water/wastewater pipes.
  6. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines to avoid them growing into powerlines. Do not prune trees around powerlines. If trees have already grown into powerlines, contact your local electric utility.
  7. Talk to your kids about powerline safety. Help children find safe spaces to play, away from utility poles, powerlines, and transformer stations. Remind them never to climb trees near powerlines because leaves and branches can hide the live wires. Green transformer boxes in the neighbourhood are not toys and are unsafe places to play. 
  8. Watch for downed powerlines. If wires fall on a vehicle or the ground, always assume they are alive and energized. Stay in the vehicle, call 9-1-1 and your local electric utility. Keep everyone back at least 10 metres or 33 feet – the length of a full-sized school bus.

 Powerline Safety Tips on Construction Sites: 

  1. Locate powerlines.  Identify all powerlines on the job site and ensure people and equipment stay at least three metres away to avoid an accident. Electricity can jump to you, your equipment, and your vehicle if you’re too close to a powerline.
  2. Use a signaller. Drivers of dump trucks and other high-reach vehicles must use a signaller to be sure equipment does not come within three metres of overhead powerlines. Make sure that dump trucks lower their boxes after dumping their loads.
  3. Stay alert! Many accidents happen when workers are tired or rushing to finish a job at the end of the day. 

For more information to keep you and your family safe around overhead powerlines, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website: esasafe.com/safety/powerline-safety/powerline-safety/