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Electrical Safety Authority warns merrymakers to 'look up and look out' to avoid getting zapped

By The Canadian Press

Holiday decorators are being warned to take care before taking to their roofs, ladders or trees this season. The Electrical Safety Authority is reminding the public to "look up and look out" for powerlines while working with outdoor lights or decorations.

The warning follows the death of a 29-year-old Elora, Ont., man who was electrocuted early this month while installing lights outside a home in Guelph.

The authority's safety chief says 14 electrocutions from powerline contact have happened in Ontario over the last five years.

Peter Marcucci says that represents more than a third of all electrical contact fatalities in the province.

He says before starting work, people should take note of all nearby powerlines —staying well clear — and be very careful with poles, ladders and other long tools that can touch the lines.

Marcucci says the details of the man's death in Guelph are still under investigation.

"This tragic incident is an unfortunate reminder of the dangers of working near overhead powerlines," he said, adding people should take a "few extra moments" to be safe.

The authority offered some useful tips, including: staying at least three metres away from powerlines; taking care when moving equipment; carrying things horizontally; keeping trees trimmed away from powerlines; and, having someone be a spotter to warn you if you get too close to lines.

The Electrical Safety Authority is a non-profit company that works to improve electrical safety in Ontario.

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