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Stay Safe Around Overhead Lines this Summer

Monday, December 22, 2014

Whatever you get up to this summer, Powerco is urging you to stay safe around its power lines.

Summer means lots of people are busy working outside on their properties. They need to think about overhead power lines, especially if they are using ladders, or long tools like branch loppers.

Powerco Group Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager Fiona Ewing said these lines were never safe to touch or even get close to.

“At this time of year, DIYers get into full swing with house and roof painting, tree trimming and general property tidy-ups. We get deeply concerned by any incidents and close calls.”

People need to double check how close they are to the power lines when working outside. They should call 0800 POWERCO (0800 769 372) for advice.

Summer is also a time when boat owners head out on the water.

“Electricity can arc or leap across objects like boat masts if they get too close to power lines. If someone then touches the boat, trailer or vehicle towing it, the results could be tragic. We’re talking terrible injuries and even death,” Mrs Ewing said.

Tips to keep you safe

• Call your electricity retailer before using a ladder close to lines to arrange a disconnection. Powerco can turn the power off to the lines near your house, making it safer to work near them.
• If you are using a ladder near power lines, keep yourself, the ladder and anything you are handling at least 4m away from overhead power lines.
• If digging, check for underground gas and power services go to www.beforeudig.co.nz
• Use a licensed electrical worker for all electrical repairs.
• Make sure everyone in your house knows where your home’s earth peg is located.
• Plant trees well away from power lines and choose low growing vegetation. Get branches trimmed if required (they must be more than 4m away from power lines).
• Before installing a TV antenna or anything up high, check the clearance from power lines.
• When using electrical equipment outdoors, always use a Residual Current Device (RCD) or an isolating transformer, available at your local hardware store.

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