ESA launches Ontario’s first-ever Powerline Safety Week
By Anthony Capkun
May 8, 2013 – “Look up, look out and locate!” Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority urges all Ontario residents to remember this phrase as it kicks off the province’s first-ever Powerline Safety Week (May 13 to 19) in partnership with local electrical distribution companies.
ESA says 28 Ontarians have died over the past decade due to contact with live powerlines, and most of those deaths could have been prevented. CHECK OUT the video below.
“We have an obligation to work together to protect our families, our communities, our co-workers and ourselves,” said Doug Crawford, chief public safety officer with ESA.
ESA says 73% of known incidents involving electrical contact occur in the construction sector, where heavy equipment (such as cranes and dump trucks) can hit powerlines on busy jobsites when there are no dedicated spotters; over 60% of the probable causes of job-related electrical fatalities can be attributed to improper procedure—a number that rises to 69 per cent when combined with human error.
54% of non-occupational electrical-related fatalities happen during recreation, and repair and maintenance activities around the home or in public spaces, adds ESA.
“Our ongoing focus, and the intent of Powerline Safety Week, is to put electrical safety top-of-mind with everyone so these kinds of incidents drop further,” said Crawford. “We can’t be complacent. We all have an ongoing role to play.”
To keep safe, ESA urges everyone to remember some basic powerline safety tips:
AT WORK: Construction sites should always have a signaller or spotter to make sure heavy equipment is well away from powerlines. Remove or prepare for hazards before beginning any job by conducting a hazard assessment of the site. Manage worksites carefully, with pre-work checklists for workers on roofs, scaffolding or any other aerial devices. When using any equipment, including things like ladders, be aware of powerlines and stay clear of them.
AT HOME: Look out for powerlines when cleaning eavestroughs or pruning trees. Carry ladders horizontally, never vertically, and check for overhead powerlines before putting them up. When digging in your yard (e.g. for fence posts or deck supports), call your local utility company to check for and mark underground cables. Always stay at least 3 metres (10 feet) away from any overhead powerline. This includes tools, ladders and equipment. For any questions regarding overhead or underground powerlines, contact your local electrical utility.
YOUR COMMUNITY: Never play with or around powerlines or other electrical equipment, including any green metal boxes on lawns or in fields. Should you ever see a downed powerline, stay well back and call 911 immediately. Should a powerline fall on your vehicle, stay inside until help arrives: never get out.
“The Electrical Safety Authority’s goal is to eliminate every injury and death in Ontario related to electricity,” Crawford added, “but we cannot do it alone. We need everyone to remember to look up, look out, and locate—and never take safety for granted.”