Powerline Safety

Powerline safety week graphic. Distractions can be deadly. Image of hydro pole and wires running through trees.

Homeowners

Distractions can be deadly. Outdoor work is rewarding but it can also be deadly. Before you start any outdoor work, locate powerlines. Be especially aware of powerlines that may be hidden by trees. 

Always be aware of your surroundings. You do not have to touch a powerline to get a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or "arc" to you or your tools if you get too close. Have someone watch to make sure you and your tools stay at least three metres (10 feet) back from powerlines. 

 

What else can you do to keep safe?

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Trees in front of tall apartment buildings

Plant trees away from overhead powerlines

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Person digging a hole with a shovel

Call or click before you dig

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Father cutting paper with his son sitting on his lap.

Talk to your kids about powerline safety

Powerline Safety - By the Numbers

1,290

19

58%

32

reported overhead powerline contacts, 2010-2019
fatalities from reported overhead powerline contacts, 2010-2019
of powerline-related fatalities occurred on the jobsite
the average number of powerline contacts occurring annually in residential areas

 

Powerline Safety Myths Busted

  1. You do not have to come into contact with a powerline to receive a lethal shock. Electricity can jump or ‘arc’ from a powerline to nearby people and objects.
  2. You can still receive a shock even if you’re wearing safety gear. Safety boots rated for electrical work may not provide 100% protection from shock. Normal wear and tear or contamination such as dirt or oil can compromise their ability to protect you.
  3. Even wood can conduct electricity. No matter what ladders or other long tools are made of, they still represent hazards if used in close proximity to powerlines.
  4. Fallen powerlines could still have electricity flowing through them. Always assume a downed powerline still has electricity flowing through it, even if it isn’t sparking. Stay 10 metres back.
  5. If a powerline falls on your vehicle, stay inside! The car and the ground around it may be electrified and you could be killed if you get out of the vehicle. Stay inside until utility workers tell you it’s safe to get out.

 

ADDITIONAL SAFETY FACTS
  • Downed powerlines may still be energized! They do not have to “arc” to indicate they energized. Stay at least 10 metres (or the length of a school bus) away from downed powerlines at all times.
  • During storms, broken, hidden, or fallen tree branches may hit energized powerlines, resulting in their downing. Always be aware and keep at least 10 metres (or the length of a school bus) away from downed powerlines at all times.
  • When a powerline is downed, immediately call 911 and the local electrical utility company.
  • If a motor vehicle hits a pole and causes powerlines to fall onto the ground or a car, stay in your vehicle and call 911 and the local utility. Everyone – including first responders – should stay at least 10 metres (or the length of a school bus) away and wait for the local utility worker to confirm when it is safe to exit.
  • If your vehicle hits a pole and causes powerlines to fall onto the ground or your car, the vehicle and even the ground around it can become electrified.
    • If your vehicle catches fire, jump clear of your vehicle with both feet together and hop or shuffle – feet still together – at leas 10 metres (or the length of a school bus) away from the downed powerline.