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Powerline Safety At Home

Watch how a simple chore of removing leaves from an eavestrough can turn into a life-changing event. What you learn could save your life, or the life of someone you care about. Keep reading below to learn more about powerline safety.

The Real Danger of Powerlines

Most Ontarians don’t think about the silent but potentially deadly risks posed by overhead powerlines. We depend on powerlines to power our homes, businesses, and neighbourhoods, but it’s important to always respect their power by using common sense and exercising safety precautions when playing or working around them.

Contact with a powerline can happen in an instant, but its impact is felt forever. From serious injury to death, the results are always devastating.

Video: How dangerous are overhead power lines?

Lucky the Squirrel learns the hard way how dangerous overhead power lines can be.


What You Can Do: 7 Essential Powerline Safety Tips

1. Look up, look out and locate powerlines when cleaning eavestroughs and windows, working on the roof, painting the house or pruning trees. Always have a signaller – someone who can watch to make sure you stay at least 3 metres. Plus, you don’t have to touch a powerline to receive a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or “arc” to you or your tools if you get too close.

2. Carry ladders horizontally, never vertically, and check for overhead powerlines before putting them up.

3. Keep away from electrical transmission and distribution lines, and never climb utility poles. Always obey the safety signs. If a toy ends up inside a transformer station, call the Local Distribution Company – don’t try to retrieve it yourself.

4. Call or click before you dig! Powerlines are not only found above ground, they can also be buried beneath it. Before you start construction on a deck, fence or other landscaping project contact Ontario One Call to locate all utility-owned underground infrastructure including natural gas, communications and power lines, as well as water and wastewater pipes. Find out why this is important. Privately owned underground powerlines require a private locate.

5. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines so they don’t grow up into the powerlines. If your trees have grown into the powerlines, contact your local utility or a utility arborist. Do not trim trees around powerlines yourself. More tree trimming and landscaping tips here.

6. Watch for downed powerlines – if you see one stay back 10 metres or 33 feet (the length of a school bus) and call 911 and the Local Distribution Company immediately.

7. Talk to your kids about powerline safety and help them find safe places to play, away from utility poles and powerlines. Choose wide-open spaces to fly kites, and never attempt to retrieve a kite or any other object that is tangled in a powerline. Remind children never to climb trees near powerlines and make sure they take a close look since leaves and branches can hide the wires. The green boxes on lawns or in parks are also off-limits.

Maintaining the Electrical Equipment on Your Property

If you have an overhead powerline on your property, you may own the assets. You are legally responsible to maintain the electrical equipment on your property – such as poles and overhead wires – in a safe manner and in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

Privately-Owned Powerline Assets - Know Your Responsibilities

Powerline Safety at Work

If you work on construction sites, outside or above ground, you’ll also want to visit the Powerline Safety at Work section, here.