With spring approaching and thoughts turning towards gardening, DIY and home improvements, it’s a good time to check-out safety advice, and get professional help, if you need it.
Rule 1 – Look up
• Assume all overhead lines are live electricity lines
• If you are trimming a tree, check first to ensure power lines don't run through or near it. If the tree is within four metres of a network powerline call your supplier
• If you are putting up a high structure like an antenna make sure you check for clearance from lines first. Make sure network powerlines are more than 7.5 metres from where you want to work. When considering things such as a flagpole ensure not only the pole but the flag itself has clearance
Rule 2 – Look down
• Call your electricity provider to find out the location of electricity cables or gas pipes under your property
• If you have cables or pipes below, make sure you avoid digging in their location. If you are breaking concrete and need equipment such as a rock breaker or excavator to dig but have established that there are cables or pipes nearby, make sure you get a professional contractor to carry out initial digging work
Rule 3 – Look out
Electricity flows through water, so don't lead it to you. When painting, waterblasting or even just using a hose near a power outlet, make sure you switch the power off at the mains first, or use a residual current device (RCD). These can be purchased from most hardware stores
• Never let appliances, cords or plugs come into contact with water
• Be sure to use waterproof exterior power plugs
• If you're putting up outdoor lights, make sure they are low voltage and safe for outdoor use. Use an RCD so the power is automatically disconnected in the event of a fault
Remember: Electricity will always look for the quickest way to the ground so make sure it's not through you.