If you’re working or playing outdoors, it’s important to know basic electrical safety rules. Even one small misstep can lead to a potentially fatal outcome. Electrical fatalities and injuries can occur on the jobsite, while you’re camping or hanging out with friends, or even in your own back yard. Here are some tips that will help keep you safe this summer.

Always look up! Before you embark on any work outside, make sure you take a scan above your space and make sure there are no power lines. Even a split-second touch could end up with disastrous results. Be especially careful if you are carrying poles, pool skimmers, ladders or anything that could act as a conductor between yourself and the volts. Always carry long objects horizontally to minimize your risk.

Check and double check to see if the power is off before you work with anything electrical. If you have the option, lock out the breaker so no one mistakenly turns it on. If notifying people around you is your only option, be sure to tell them not to turn it on without your okay, or even have a buddy stand guard over it to make sure it stays off. This is of the utmost importance if you’re working near, around, or in water.

Practice proper cord safety. If you’re using extension cords outdoors, they will need to be rated for outdoor use. Cords should never be plugged into each other, and should be grounded. Extension cords should be stored properly away from moisture when you’re finished with them. Cords should also not be run through doors or windows, buried, or stapled. If you are done using your cord, make sure you unplug it from the power source.

Call before you dig! Utility lines are not buried as deep as most people expect and one misstep could lead to death. Make sure you know where they are prior to breaking ground on anything.

Inspect electrical tools for damage before you start them up.

Respect lightning. If you are outdoors and a lightning storm blows in, take the proper precautions:

  • Use non-conductive materials. If you are doing any work outdoors and there is the potential for lightning, use wooden or fibreglass ladders, not aluminum.
  • Stay away from power lines and tall objects.
  • If you are on a lake, river or open water go to shore immediately.
  • If possible, seek shelter inside, or in a vehicle.

Stay safe and have a great summer!