BC Hydro sees uptick in power line accidents during yard work

Almost 400 accidents since 2013 reported to BC Hydro, due to misconceptions and lack of safety

Despite BC Hydro’s warnings to keep a minimum three metres from power lines when trimming trees or doing other yard work, a surprising number of British Columbians are unprepared or unaware of vital safety rules.

According to a new report by BC Hydro, incidents involving ‘weekend loggers’ – people who do yard work or gardening near power lines or poles – are up 60 per cent from 2013.

That’s almost 400 accidents, occurring mostly in the spring and summer months, that have been reported to BC Hydro and attended by a BC Hydro crew in the past five years.

A lot of these incidents have to do with misinformation and false perceptions around working near power poles, a new survey suggests.

BC Hydro said that when asked in a province-wide survey, 7,500 B.C. residents reported close calls with electricity while pruning trees, as well as work on a roof such as cleaning gutters or replacing shingles.

Of those surveyed, 80 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know how far their tools should be from overhead power lines when doing yard work.

More than 30 per cent also mistakenly believe that rubber-soled shoes or gloves protect them from danger when trimming near power lines, and 18 per cent believe trees cannot conduct electricity.

Almost 10 per cent of respondents said they think it is safe to remove branches from a tree that has fallen or become entangled on a power line on their property, so long as the branches are not touching the line directly.

Most service lines from BC Hydro poles to houses carry both 120-Volts and 240-Volts, with the higher voltage used to power large appliances such as clothes dryers and stoves.

The severity of an injury from electrical shock depends on the amount of electrical current and length of time it passes through the body, according to BC Hydro.

Even prolonged exposure to a 120-Volt household electrical current – something that can happen when muscles in hands and arms freeze up, or continue to hold on as a reaction to the shock – can lead to respiratory paralysis to the point that breathing stops.

In response to the survey, BC Hydro has launched its “If you’re near, stay clear” campaign, urging people to stay at least three metres away from power lines at all times.

During Electrical Safety Day this month, staff went to more than 200 schools in over 60 B.C. cities to educate students on electrical safety.

If any part of a tree or hedge is within three metres of a power line, property owners are asked to call 1-800-224-9376, and call a certified utility arborist to prune trees.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Q&A: Mayoral candidates provide their insights on the city’s top issues

Cobb and Rathor talk about Williams Lake’s crime rate, the economy, burning rail ties and more

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

392 of 28,890 eligible voters have cast ballots so far, says Cariboo Regional District

The last chance to vote is on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Advanced voting taking place at Williams Lake city hall Wednesday

Polls at city hall will be open until 8 p.m.

Williams Lake make 29 arrests during three-week effort to combat break and enters

Police said there are 27 potential charges as a result

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Manhunt in Crimea for possible accomplice in school attack

An 18-year-old student, who later killed himself, was initially believed to be the only one involved

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

Police in Canada posted a photo of a $215 ticket given to someone who allegedly had a baggy of marijuana in their car

Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill reminder

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Great ShakeOut

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Most Read