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“Respect The Power”: Powerline Awareness Week

May 11, 2015 | By Anthony Capkun

May 11, 2015 – Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) has set aside this week—May 11 to 17, 2015—as Powerline Awareness Week, and is asking Ontarians to #RespectThePower by staying clear of overhead and underground powerlines.

“Tragically, every year people in Ontario are killed or critically injured from contact with powerlines and electrical utility equipment,” said Scott Saint, ESA’s chief public safety officer. “We need everyone to recognize and respect the power and take some simple yet life-saving safety precautions.”


1. Locate the lines. Before starting any outdoor job—whether at work or at home—first look up, look out and locate. Then keep track of where they are as you move around so you’re always mindful of the powerlines.


2. Keep yourself and equipment a safe distance away. For the kind of powerlines that connect a house to the poles on the street, keep yourself and any equipment (ladders, pruners, tall vehicles, etc.) at least 1 metre away. For the higher-voltage lines that run down streets, stay at least 3 metres away. Not only is making contact very dangerous but even coming close to the line can cause the electricity to arc through the air and contact you or your equipment.

3. Never attach or drape anything on a powerline. Never brace a ladder against a line or near its point of contact to a building. Don’t run other lines (e.g. antennas or cables) on or near powerlines. Never grab a line for balance when working at heights.

4. Carry equipment horizontally. Carry ladders, pruners and other long equipment sideways, not vertically, as they could connect or attract arcing from an overhead line.

5. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines. If your trees have grown into or close to powerlines, contact your local utility. Do not trim trees around powerlines yourself. And call before you dig to ensure underground cables and other utility equipment are located and marked.

Photo © ESA

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