Whether your outdoor plans include work or play, always keep safety top of mind.
Outdoor electrical safety tips on this page:
Ensure you and your loved ones are safe from electrical injury outside your home. Get electrical safety advice and easy-to-follow tips with our handbook.
Some tasks we do outside our home can bring us close to powerlines and other electrical hazards. Check out these safety tips when working outside.
- Stop. Look. Live.
Pruning trees, cleaning eaves troughs or inspecting the roof might bring you close to overhead powerlines. Be aware of where they at all times.
- Keep your ladder or tools at least three metres away.
- When cleaning eaves troughs or doing roof work, stay away from the service mast attached to your house.
- Always carry a ladder sideways, not upright.
- More powerline safety at home tips.
- Call before you dig.
- Contact Ontario One Call to mark the location of buried electrical cables. Do this before any major digging projects.
- Safely plug in power tools to a GFCI receptacle (make sure they have a recognized Canadian approval mark) and use the right extension cord.
- Hydro poles are for power... period. Do not:
- Mount satellite receivers or clotheslines on them.
- Post poster or signs on them.
- Use them as a trellis for climbing vines.
Remember water and electricity don’t mix! For this reason, pools, spas and hot tubs, have very specific electrical requirements.
- Contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) before installing a pool or hot tub. An LEC will install your pool equipment safely, and properly grounded and bonded.
- Ensure the pool or hot tub meets the minimum clearances from overhead powerlines and communication lines. Your local utility can advise on their clearance rules.
- Outdoor outlets should have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), especially around pools and hot tubs. The GFCIs should also have weatherproof covers to prevent moisture from getting in.
- Keep electrical equipment well back from the water (at least three metres).
- Do routine electrical maintenance yearly to make sure the electrical components are in good condition.
Follow the principle of "right cord, right place, and right use" when using extension cords outdoors.
Pick the right extension cord for your needs and don’t “make do” with the wrong one:
- Use extension cords rated for outdoor use, which are designed for outdoor conditions. Using an indoor cord or power bar, even for a short time, could cause shock, electrocution or fire. It also violates the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
- Use a cord with the same or greater power capacity than the item you’re planning to plug in.
- Use a heavy-duty extension cord for electric power tools.
- Always use grounded (three-pronged) cords. Never remove the grounding pin from the plug – it is there to protect you. Throw out any of your old two-pronged extension cords.
- Plug your grounded outdoor extension cord into an electrical outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). If the outlet isn’t GFCI protected, get a portable GFCI outlet adapter at your local home improvement retailer or hardware store.
- Never run extension cords through doors or windows even for a short time. Cords can rub against the door or window edges or get pinched in the frame, causing damage.
- Use only electrical appliances and tools rated for outdoor use.
- Inspect cords before using to make sure they are in good condition.
- Don’t string multiple extension cords together. It is unsafe, and it reduces their power capacity. Your electronic tools or gadgets won’t work properly.
- Don’t use extension cords as long-term power sources. If you need ongoing power outside, hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) to install permanent outdoor wiring and outlets. Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor near you.
- Never bury extension cords. Only specially rated underground conductors can be buried and must be done to meet the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
- Don’t staple extension cords in place or run them over nails, which can damage the cord.
- Safely store extension cords to protect them from weather damager. Damaged cords could result in a shock, electrocution, or fire.
Stop. Look. Live. Stay safe around powerlines.
Always stay 3 metres away from overhead powerlines and at least 10 metres (about the length of a school bus) away from downed powerlines.
One distraction—no matter how big or small—could cause a life-threatening injury or fatality.