May 3, 2013
Electricity plays an integral role in our lives, but leaving safety out of the picture can have serious and potentially deadly consequences.
May is National Electrical Safety Month, and PPL Electric Utilities urges everyone in its 29-county service area to use the occasion to learn more about how to stay safe at home, work or play.
“Like using seat belts in a car, we want electrical safety to be the norm, to be second nature in the lives of our customers, their families and friends,” said Barry Downes, manager of Health and Safety for PPL Electric Utilities. “It’s important no matter your age or occupation.”
Electrical safety has many faces. It can be calling before you dig to avoid hitting underground power lines. It can be checking your holiday lights for cracked cords or damaged plugs. It can be the safe operation of a portable generator or keeping your distance from a power line knocked down in a storm.
On a recent day in late April, four customer contacts with PPL Electric Utilities lines were reported, including a fatality involving a tree trimmer in Monroe County. The other three contacts involved the use of excavating equipment, farm machinery and an auger. There were no injuries in those cases.
“These recent accidents should serve as a reminder about the importance of electrical safety. All of us can be electrical safety ambassadors in our families, neighborhoods and communities,” Downes said.
Key electrical safety points include:
• Call the Pennsylvania One Call System at 811 at least three business days before any digging project. This is required any time earth is moved with powered equipment. If you hire an excavator to do the work, that contractor is required by law to call to have lines located. If you are doing the work yourself, you must call. According to the Pennsylvania One Call System, it doesn’t matter how deep or where you are digging. It also is a good idea to call 811 for digging projects that don’t involve the use of powered equipment.
• Don’t attempt to prune or remove trees near power lines. If you, or someone working for you, need to trim or remove a tree growing less than 10 feet from a power line, call PPL Electric Utilities. One of the company’s qualified tree clearance trimmers can prune the tree to provide a safe working distance.
• Watch for overhead power lines. Look up and be aware. Coming in contact with an overhead wire with your body or a conductive object like ladders, poles or roofing materials can cause serious injury or death. Accidents can happen even without contact.
Electrical safety information sources include www.pplelectric.com/safety, where there are resources for students, parents, teachers, contractors and first responders. Customers also can find safety-related articles in the monthly Connect customer newsletter that comes with their bill.
“We want every person to think about electrical safety as if their life depended on it — because it does,” Downes said.
PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation, provides electricity delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and consistently ranks among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.