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Ontario electrical fatalities more common at home: ESA

The number of electrical fatalities among the general public now surpass those that occur at work, according to the ESA's Ontario Electrical Safety Report.


ESACourtesy of the Electrical Safety Authority.

The number of electrical fatalities among Ontario’s general public now surpass those that occur at work, according to the Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA) Ontario Electrical Safety Report.

Historically, occupational deaths generally outnumber non-occupational deaths, but 2018 saw four fatalities occur in the general public, while two fatalities occurred in non-electrical occupations.

“No family should have to endure the pain of losing a loved one when all electrical deaths are preventable,” said Dr. Joel Moody, chief public safety officer at the ESA.

Of the nearly 1,000 electrical injuries that occur in Ontario, 48 per cent are in the general public, while 52 per cent occur at work. The total number of emergency hospital visits for electrical injuries have fallen by 44 per cent over the past decade, however over 80 per cent were classified as critical injuries.

“We see a steady stream of patients with electrical injuries every year, and those injuries can often be life changing,” added Dr. Marc Jeschke, medical director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “The more awareness people have about preventing dangerous situations that lead to serious injuries, the better.”

ESA uses data from the Electrical Safety Report to identify the areas of greatest risk to Ontario residents, monitor changes in incidence and identify emerging risks and trends.

Other trends noted in the report include:

  • Over 70 per cent of all electrical-related injuries and fatalities occur in four specific areas: powerline contact; electrical trade workers; misuse of electrical products and unapproved/counterfeit products; and electrical infrastructure fires.
  • The average number of workplace fatalities among those who routinely work near electrical sources has fallen seven per cent.
  • Utility-related fatalities accounted for 50 per cent of all electrical-related fatalities over the past decade. The number of utility-related equipment fatalities has been declining over the past 10 years.
  • Last year, there were two powerline fatalities reported. The five-year rolling average rate for powerline electrocutions has declined by 47 per cent when comparing 2009-2013 and 2014-2018.

To read the full Ontario Electrical Safety Report, visit www.esasafe.com/oesr.