Summer is all about spending time outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and making memories with family and friends.

For many, summer is also the time for gardening, landscaping and getting busy with other backyard projects. Before getting those green thumbs ready and special equipment out, it’s important to review safety measures to stay clear from any potential harms or hazards. Here are a few tips to ensure you stay safe this summer.

  1. Think Big – If you’re planting trees or new shrubbery, make sure you consider how large they will grow. If you anticipate growth near a powerline, choose another location to keep away and avoid any potential future contact.
  2. Identify Powerline Locations Below – Before digging begins for projects such as installing a new, fence, gazebo/pergola or deck, you must check that no powerlines are buried underground. This goes for planting trees or installing pools as well. Contact Ontario One Call to locate all utility-owned lines (natural gas, communications, powerlines, and water and wastewater pipes). For privately owned underground infrastructure, a private locate will be required.
  3. Don’t Work Alone – Tackle any yard project with teamwork! If your task, such as tree pruning, requires that you work with a ladder or high-reach tools near a powerline, have someone watch as you work. You both should ensure you and your tools stay at least 3 meters away from overhead powerlines as electricity can “arc” or jump if you get to close.
  4. Hire the Right Professionals – For bigger projects, such as a pool or a hot tub installation, don’t treat it the same as you would for a DIY project. Be sure to conduct research and speak with a few professionals, such as a Licensed Electrical Contracting (LEC) Business or your local utility, before making your decision. They can help determine requirements under the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) in regards to wiring and placement of the pool or hot tub near overhead powerlines.
  5. Talk About the Details – The OESC and local utilities have requirements for placing objects such as gazebos/pergolas and pools under overhead powerlines. Make sure you ask the professional you’re working with, including your local utility, about the right measurements.
  6. Keep Your Distance – Summer can bring on unexpected weather conditions, so always know your safety limits. If you see a downed powerline or a low-hanging overhead wire, everyone should stay at least 10 meters away (the length of a school bus) and call 911 and the local utility company immediately to alert them of the safety hazard. The ground around the powerline may still be energized, so do not approach it.

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