Four Ontarians Critically Injured or Killed by Electricity in the Past 24 Hours

Mississauga, ON (September 20, 2019) – In the last day, three confirmed electrical-related incidents that have involved four individuals have been reported on worksites across Ontario: two reported fatalities and two critical injuries. All of these incidents involved contact with overhead electrical wires.

The Electrical Safety Authority is supporting the Ministry of Labour while each of these incidents are investigated.

“In the last 24 hours, four families have been tragically impacted by the dangers of electricity and we are incredibly saddened by this news,” says Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Public Safety Officer with the Electrical Safety Authority. “Unfortunately, these incidents were preventable and it’s clear that more needs to be done to help Ontarians stay safe when working around electricity.”

In the last 10 years, 19 Ontarians have died after making contact with energized powerlines. The events of the past 24 hours further reinforce the serious nature of electricity and need to always be vigilant when working close to or around energized wires.

To keep safe, ESA urges everyone to remember these safety tips when working around electricity – at home or on the job:

  • Look up, look out and identify all powerlines around you and make sure people and equipment stay at least three metres away to prevent an incident. Electricity can jump to you or your equipment if you’re too close to a powerline.
  • Stay alert! Many incidents happen at the end of the day when people are tired or rushing to finish a job.
  • Be Aware. Drivers of dump trucks and other high reach vehicles must get a signaller to ensure that equipment doesn’t come within three metres of overhead powerlines.
  • Hidden Dangers. Overhead powerlines can be hidden by foliage. Tree trimming tools that contact a powerline can result in electrocution. Look closely to identify overhead powerlines running through trees and ensure that you and your tools are at least three metres away from powerlines at all times.
  • Keep Equipment Away. Aluminum ladders, or ladders with aluminum parts, will act as conductors of electricity if they contact overhead powerlines. Even wooden ladders can contain metal and lead to a shock if contact occurs with a powerline.
  • Don’t touch. If wires fall down on the truck or the ground, always assume they are still energized. Stay in the vehicle, call 911 and keep everyone back. Only the local utility worker on-site can confirm when the power is off and tell you when it’s safe to exit the vehicle.

About the Electrical Safety Authority

The Electrical Safety Authority's (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.

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