|Electrical safety when working outside|
|Library of Articles - General Electric Safety|
As spring-like temperatures begin to melt the snow and ice and issue an invitation to venture outside, the effects of the long winter will become apparent for many homeowners. While winter may likely return for a few more visits before its annual retreat, there will be urges to begin some clean up around homes and landscaping. If you are among them, caution is the watchword around overhead electric lines and for power tools.
Winter ice storms may have broken branches in trees that are unsightly and need to be removed. However if the tree is near an overhead power line, beware that cutting or pulling down a branch may result in an encounter with deadly electric current. Moisture in the branch can become a conductor as the electricity seeks a path to the ground, and your body may complete that path. Shawn Miller tells the story about his encounter with a tree and a power line in the video that can be seen on this site.
If you spot a branch or other debris left by winter winds on your roof, be careful as you carry and place your metal ladder. Remember, that ladder can conduct electricity if it comes in contact with your home’s electric service lines. The same goes for metal poles or tools used for extending your reach, all can become energized if contact is made with those lines connecting to your home.
As you head outdoors, look up and check to see how close your work may take you to overhead power lines and avoid contact with them. If you see a problem, alert your utility.
Planning to use some power tools in your efforts? Make sure you won’t be standing in puddles or wet areas when you use them – wait for those areas to dry out.
Always check the condition of cords before plugging in electrical tools, and use a portable ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) if you outdoor outlets don’t have GFCI protection
Work safely as you work outdoors!