Injury rates among young workers spike between May and September, when young people are off school and in their seasonal jobs.
Many of these accidents are the result of pressures and distractions of a new job, a lack of understanding about electricity, and not being careful. It’s important for new employees to ask questions or speak up when they have concerns.
How much electricity does it take to cause fatalities?
Every year in North America, electricity kills hundreds of people in the workplace and at home, and it maims many more. It takes about 1000 milliamps of electricity to run a 100-watt light bulb – but under the right conditions, it can take only 50 milliamps to kill.
Whether the voltage is high or low, an electrical current can cause serious injury or death if you become a path for electricity to get to the ground.
Here are some tips to help you avoid the safety hazards common to summer jobs:
• Be aware of overhead wires when shingling, siding or painting. Use extreme caution and stay a
safe distance away when raising, lowering or moving pipe, rods, ladders, or equipment.
• Do not touch service wires that enter a building.
• Do not trim trees closer than ten feet (three metres) to power lines.
• Call Manitoba Hydro if tree branches are touching power lines.
• Never climb hydro poles or attach signs or equipment to them.
• If you are outside during an electrical storm, stay away from large trees or poles, especially if they are the tallest in the area.
• Use a GFCI outlet when using power tools outdoors.
• Before you do any digging or disturbing the ground deeper than 15 cm, verify the location of all underground electrical or natural gas lines via ClickBeforeYouDigMB.com.
Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc Public Safety & Education Coordinator, Manitoba Hydro