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

Chilliwack kids ready to rumble at Rubik’s competition

Fast fingers, memorizing algorithms key to solving cubes quickly in Rubik’s Rumble

Downtown Chilliwack homeless shelter gets a reprieve

Extension to August is geared to getting people into supportive housing this summer

Three different Chilliwack pubs hit by banking machine thieves

RCMP investigating thefts of ABMs during late night, early morning break-ins

B.C. Wildfire crews respond to Sts’ailes, Morris Valley fires

A fire at the First Nation and a grass fire in Mission sent smoke across the valley Wednesday

Top Canadian curlers clash at 2019 Everest senior men’s and women’s championships

It’s the first big event at the just-opened Chilliwack Curling Club, and features an exciting field.

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Two men charged in Lower Mainland grocery store stabbing in 2018

Coquitlam RCMP say the incident is ‘believed to be targeted’

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Driver sought in Vancouver hit-and-run that sent two to hospital

A man and woman were crossing Fraser Street early Monday morning when they were hit

Most Read