Electrical Safety

Because many of our workers perform their duties in a hazardous environment we are continually reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure that every one of our employees remains safe throughout each day. This active review brings about crucial advice that needs to become public knowledge to ensure a safe community.

Electrical Safety and Digging

Call or Click Before You Dig

Planting a tree, building a deck or installing a fence?

Before you get started, call or click Ontario One Call to book a free locate.

Striking underground services can have serious consequences. It is important that you know the location of any underground hydro lines so that injury and/or damage to equipment and personal liability may be avoided.

Don’t take the risk. Dig safely and get a free locate!

Request a free locate online or call the number listed below. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please provide them with at least five (5) business days notice to process your request.

Online: www.on1call.com
Phone: 1-800-400-2255
Fax: 1-800-400-8876

Powerline Safety- How Close Can You Come to Overhead Powerlines with Your Body or an Object?

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 away from the powerline.

Keep your distance from overhead powerlines, 3-6 metres (10-20 feet) minimum.

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.

For more information, please visit the ESA website: https://www.esasafe.com/consumers/safety-and-security/powerline-safety/

Powerline Safety- How Dangerous is Contact With Overhead Powerlines?

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

A simple chore like removing leaves from an eavestrough can turn into a life-changing event around overhead powerlines if necessary safety precautions aren’t taken.

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. It’s important to always respect their power by exercising safety precautions when playing or working around them.

Look up, look out and locate power lines to avoid any potential hazards!

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.

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.

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.

Children and Electrical Safety

Please review these electrical safety do’s and don’t with your children. This information can help prevent serious injury or save a life.


  • Keep away from outdoor areas marked with signs that say Danger or Danger High Voltage.
  • Look up for hydro wires running through or beside trees before you climb.
  • Stay clear of overhead power lines and wires.
  • Respect utility electrical equipment.
  • Fly kites, balloons and model airplanes in wide-open spaces, away from power lines.
  • Always try to get inside a building or a car during a lightning storm.
  • Remind your parents to replace electrical cords that have cut, broken or cracked insulation.
  • Keep electrical cords away from sources of heat.
  • Keep electrical cords and appliances away from water. Plug cords into GFCI protected outlets when you’re working near a sink or other water source.
  • When you’re changing a light bulb, be sure to turn off the switch or circuit.
  • Put safety caps on any unused electrical outlets, especially if there are young children in the house.
  • If there’s an electrical fire, call the fire department. Use a dry chemical fire extinguisher or baking soda to douse an electrical fire. If it’s safe to do so, unplug the appliance first.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number if you see a person who is receiving an electrical shock and is seized on an appliance or a wire.


  • Don’t play near electrical stations, equipment, wires, hydro towers or utility poles.
  • Don’t climb or play in trees where there are overhead wires nearby.
  • Don’t touch an overhead wire with a pole, stick or other object. Electricity could travel down that object and cause a shock that could kill you.
  • Don’t throw anything at wires or electrical equipment. Damaged equipment can be very dangerous.
  • Don’t fly kites or other toys near overhead power lines or substations. A string or line that contacts electrical equipment or a power line can cause a shock that could kill you.
  • Don’t stay outside when there’s lightning. Avoid wide open spaces and tall trees. If you’re swimming, get out of the water.
  • Don’t pull on the cord when unplugging an electrical appliance. Use the plug.
  • Don’t use appliances that have damaged electrical cords – there’s a risk of shock.
  • Don’t run cords under carpets.
  • Don’t mix water and electricity. If an electrical cord or appliance is faulty, water will conduct the electricity and increase the risk of shock.
  • Don’t work on light fixtures or appliances without unplugging them or switching off the power.
  • Never put your finger in a light bulb socket.
  • Don’t insert anything into an electrical outlet.
  • Don’t use water to put out an electrical fire.
  • Don’t touch someone that is being shocked until the electricity has been turned off.

Electrical Safety Inspections

For Your Safety, insist on an electrical inspection. Electrical inspections are designed to help protect the people in your home or building from electrical hazards. Today, inspections are handled by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). An Inspector from the ESA will check any electrical work to make sure it meets the requirements defined in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, which sets provincial standards for safe electrical installations and electrical products.

Electrical Safety: Preparing for an Emergency:

  • We recommend that you keep essential supplies on hand in the event of an emergency. Be prepared, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe in the event of an extended power outage.
  • If you require an uninterrupted supply of power, including for specialized medical equipment, you are advised to ensure that you have a back-up supply in place.
  • Have a first aid kit prepared with adequate supplies to keep you and your entire family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days. Be sure to include prescription medicine and contact lens solution.
  • Keep enough water to sustain you for three days without power. You need at least two bottles of drinking water per adult per day. Extra water is needed for cooking and washing.
  • Keep an emergency food kit in your home. Food should be easy to store with no need for refrigeration or cooking. Some suggested food items include: grain products, canned food (meat, fish, soup), peanut butter, nuts, energy bars, nonperishable milk products, and pasta sauce dishes. Have additional supplies, such as cutlery, cups, plates and a manual can opener in your kit as well.
  • Keep several flashlights with fresh batteries and spare bulbs.
  • Make sure you have a battery operated or windup radio to stay in touch if there is no power. This will enable you to stay tuned into local media for updates.
  • Ensure you have a phone that does not require electricity.
  • Ensure your home has a battery-powered smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to keep your family safe.

Electrical Safety during Extended Power Outages

  • Unplug appliances and electronics to help avoid a power surge when electricity is restored.
  • If a power outage is expected to last for some time during the winter:
    • Shut off power to the water heater.
    • Shut off water at the main valve (usually found in the basement near the water meter).
    • Open taps to drain the pipes. Leave the taps open.
    • Flush toilets to empty them.
    • Drain appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
    • In the event of an ice storm (such as the Ice Storm of 1998), stay in your home for as long as you are safe, warm and can feed yourself.
    • Food in freezers will keep for 24 to 48 hours without power. Food in refrigerators will keep for up to 12 hours if the door is kept shut.
    • If the power remains off for more than one day and the temperature is below zero, store perishable food in a cooler in an unheated garage or balcony.
    • If you use a fireplace for heat, check chimneys for creosote buildup or debris. Do not leave the fire unattended for long periods of time.
    • Close room doors to keep heat in a confined area.
    • Use flashlights. Candles can be a fire hazard. If you must use candles, place them in a non-combustible container away from drapes and carpet.
    • Barbecues and camp stoves should only be used outdoors.
    • If your garage door is stuck closed, pull the emergency release cord that hangs from most door openers, and then raise the door by hand.
    • Generators should never be used indoors as exhaust fumes could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if they are not properly vented.
    • Plug your appliances directly into the generator. Only a licensed electrician should connect a generator to your home’s electrical panel. Generators that are incorrectly connected to the power grid could present a safety hazard to utility workers and a potential technical risk to the distribution network and neighbours