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Powerline safety tips for homeowners and construction workers

Enova Power Corp. is raising awareness for Powerline Safety Week

Electrical safety awareness can save a life. Whether you are completing home maintenance or working near overhead powerlines, it is important to take precautions to avoid serious injury or death.

Overhead powerline contacts are on the rise across Ontario. Between 2018 and 2022 there were 12 fatalities due to powerline contacts, which is a 50 per cent increase from 2013 to 2017. In the past 10 years, there have been nearly 1,400 powerline contacts, and 45 per cent of all electrical-related fatalities in the province were due to powerline contacts.

Powerline contacts are preventable, and this Powerline Safety Week (May 13-19), Enova Power Corp. (Enova) wants to keep homeowners and contractors safe by sharing powerline safety tips.

Powerline Safety tips

Tips for homeowners

  1. Look up & look out for overhead powerlines. Do you know where powerlines are located around your property? By identifying where powerlines are you can avoid contact, especially where powerlines may be hidden or covered by trees.
  2. Keep three metres distance. Merely avoiding direct contact is not enough! Electricity can “arc” to your body and tools, leading to severe injury or death. Always maintain at least three metres distance from overhead powerlines. To ensure a proper distance, have someone watch you.
  3. Carry ladders sideways. Carry ladders horizontally to avoid potential contact with overhead powerlines. Make sure you are a safe distance away from powerlines before standing any ladder upright.
  4. Call before you dig. Planning a project that involves digging? Make sure you request your free locate at least five days before you want to start. Call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 or visit OntarioOneCall.ca to make your request. Locates identify underground powerlines and other underground hazards, keeping you and your family safe.
  5. Plant trees away from powerlines. When landscaping, plant trees away from powerlines. This limits the risk of growth near powerlines. Do not attempt to prune trees that have grown close to powerlines. Contact Enova at 226-896-1010 to have them assessed by our certified utility arborists.
  6. Stay 10 metres away from downed powerlines. Always treat a downed powerline as live. If you see downed powerlines, stay at least 10 metres away, the length of a full-sized school bus. If a powerline falls on your vehicle, do not attempt to leave the vehicle, stay inside! In both instances, call 9-1-1 and your local electric utility to report the hazard.
  7. Keep children safe. Powerlines, utility poles and transformers are not places to play. Climbing trees near powerlines is also hazardous because the tree could become energized and indirect contact can still injure or kill. By keeping children away from powerlines and teaching them safe practices, you protect them from these hazards.

Need resources to teach children about powerline safety? Check out our Electrical Safety Education Resources page to learn more about school safety programs and to watch animated safety videos featuring Lucky the Squirrel.

Tips for construction workers

  1. Use a signaller. When working on the job, make sure high-reaching vehicles or equipment are well away from overhead powerlines. Use a signaller to make sure tools and vehicles maintain the necessary three metre distance.
  2. Watch for orange cover-ups. Orange cover-ups on powerlines are there to alert you to powerlines on a job site. They do not prevent electrical shock. Workers must keep at least three metres away from powerlines for their safety.
  3. Stay alert. The risk of accidents can increase when you are rushing or tired. Take your time so you can be more alert to powerline safety.

To learn more about powerline safety, visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s Powerline Safety at Home webpage. Additional tips for construction workers can be found on their Construction Workers webpage.

About Enova Power Corp. 

Enova Power Corp. is the trusted energy provider, dedicated to delivering safe and reliable energy solutions that power our communities forward. Serving more than 160,000 residential and business customers in the City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo, Township of Woolwich, Township of Wilmot, and Township of Wellesley, Enova Power Corp. will drive what’s next in energy and sustainability for our communities and beyond. 

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