Understanding Harms: Data and Trends

The Ontario Electrical Safety Report

At ESA, we analyze data from the Ontario Electrical Safety Report (OESR) to anticipate, identify and target the leading causes of electrical related harms in Ontario.

Learn about recent trends ESA has identified in the sections below:

electrical fatality

Overall Electrical Fatalities

occupational and nonoccupational

Occupational and 
Non-occupational Fatalities

electrical injury

Electrical Injuries

utility powerlines

Utility Incidents

electrical fires

Electrical Fires

electrical products

Product Safety Incident Reports

Overall Electrical Fatalities

The five-year rolling average rate of electrical fatalities in Ontario remains less than one in a million, and has remained this way since 2014.

Downward Trend of 1 in a million
Average rate of electrical fatalities is less than one in a million.

How we manage electrical fatalities in Ontario:

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Occupational and Non-occupational Fatalities

Occupational electrical-related fatalities are a particular hazard to those who routinely work near electrical sources. Education and proper protection are essential in preventing electrical injuries at work.

In the past ten years, the number of occupational electrical-related fatalities have equalled the number of non-occupational fatalities. In four of the five most recent years (2018-2022), the number of non-occupational electrical deaths have been greater than occupational deaths.

Residential settings were the most common places for non-occupational electrical-related fatalities. Human error, improper use/misuse, misadventure, and theft were the most common activities associated with fatalities.

How we manage these electrical-related fatalities:

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Electrical Injuries (Emergency Department and WSIB)

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) reports that from 2013 to 2022, male workers continue to outnumber female workers with respect to occupational electrical injury claims.

Workers in the construction and services sectors contribute to the highest number of WSIB lost time injury claims. Injuries to workers include electrocutions or electrical burns. 

Between 2018-2022,  there were 360 electrical injuries to workers
Injuries to workers include 254 electrocutions and 106 electrical burns for a total of 360 electrical injuries between 2018 and 2022. (Electrocution occurs when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy.)


From 2012 to 2021, there were 8,726 visits to Ontario hospital emergency departments (ED) due to electrical injury. Patients reported the home as the most common location for electrical injury.

majority young men under 30
The age groups with the largest number of ED visits are 25-30 year-old males.


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Utility Incidents

Utility-related equipment includes electrical equipment and devices used by Local Distribution Companies (LDCs), privately owned companies, or property owners that distribute electricity to customers’ facilities or buildings.

utility incidents - 26 fatalities or 48% of the total electrical fatalities
From 2013 to 2022, there were 26 electrical-related fatalities associated with utility-related equipment, which made 48% of the total electrical fatalities in Ontario.​​​​

Overhead powerline contact remains the leading cause of utility-related electrical incidents every year.

utility incidents with powerline contacts have increased between 2013-2017 and 2018-2022. Majority in construction sector.
Powerline fatalities account for 37% of all electrical fatalities.Overhead powerline contacts have increased when comparing the five year rolling average rate of 2013-2017 and 2018-2022. The majority are reported by the construction sector and from public settings.


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Electrical Fires

Electrical product-related fires involve appliances, cooking equipment, lighting equipment, and other electrical, mechanical, or processing equipment as classified by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) data. The OFMEM requires a year-long period for data collection and validation, resulting in a reporting lag. Thus, the following information is presented up to the year of 2021.

2012-2021 The rate of electrical fire fatalities has decreased by 13% and number of electrical fires have decreased by 20%
The five-year average rate of electrical fire fatalities decreased 3% when comparing 2012-2016 and 2017-2021. The number of electrical fires decreased 11% between 2012 to 2021. The five-year average of electrical fires involving electrical products has decreased 17% when comparing 2012-2016 and 2017-2021. Electrical fires involving electrical distribution equipment (such as wiring, extension cords, appliance cords, terminations, and electric panels) decreased 9% in the same time period.

Cooking equipment remains the lead ignition source.

How we manage electrical fires:

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Product Safety Incident Reports

Ontario Regulation 438/07, Product Safety, enables the ESA to address the safety of electrical products and equipment offered for sale, sold, and used in Ontario. O. Reg 438/07 authorizes the ESA to protect the public against potentially unsafe electrical products.

2013-2022 there was a 19% decrease in product incident reports and 86% were from unapproved products
Between 2013 and 2022 there was a 19% decrease in product incident reports to ESA, of which 86% of reports were from unapproved products.


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Learn how ESA manages harms. Visit "Managing Harms: Programs and Initiatives."


2022 Report

Previous Reports

Ontario Electrical Safety Report 2021

Ontario Electrical Safety Report 2020

Ontario Electrical Safety Report 2019

Ontario Electrical Safety Report 2018

Ontario Electrical Safety Report 2017