With the Christmas holiday season being one of the most popular times of the year for Kiwis to start new DIY projects, Vector’s annual summer safety campaign, launched today, encourages people to look out for overhead lines and to think about the location of underground services before they dig.
It’s an important message as traditionally there is an increase in home-based work in summer period as people look to take advantage of the better weather and time off to work on home improvements.
“Kiwis are great at getting stuck into jobs around the house and have a real ‘can do’ mentality. This year, the economic downturn has made many people think more about investing in their current property and consider taking on more work themselves. This is great, but we are encouraging people to take some precautions to avoid the risk of serious injury while they are working,” said Simon Mackenzie, Vector Chief Executive Officer.
“We’re reminding people to always look up and check where the electricity lines are when carrying ladders or before starting any painting, water blasting, clearing spouting or tree trimming projects. Additionally, if people are thinking of tackling that new drainage system or digging out a garden, it will be important to watch out for underground cables and pipes.”
According to Vector, ladders are the cause of many of the accidents around power lines and it is safer to request a temporary disconnection of the electricity supply to your home before starting work near any overhead lines. It’s not only the ladder coming into contact with the power line that has the potential to put people in danger, accidentally taking hold of the line or a tool coming into contact with the line could also cause potentially fatal injuries.
It’s also important to know that electricity can arc to a person or the tool they are handling, so people need to keep a safe distance of at least 0.5m from service lines (the lines that connect a house to the network pole in the street).
Overhead lines are not the only cause of potentially fatal accidents, said Mr Mackenzie.
“Underground cables and pipes can be deadly. People often forget about their gas pipes, which when ruptured can ignite.”
“Gas service pipe reference maps for your property are easily available and it’s vital to check these before you start digging. You should call a professional locator to help you locate your electricity service line if it’s underground. Your services might not be where you think they are, and changes to the soil cover can also alter the depth. So if you’re planting, laying fence posts or doing any excavating - don’t take any chances; the results could be explosive or shocking!”
Vector is committed to ensuring people stay safe around its networks and their own service lines. This DIYer safety campaign forms part of a wider safety programme at Vector which includes programmes for children, in which more than 60,000 Auckland school children have participated, contractor’s and staff.
Vector customers can call 0508 B4U WORK (0508 248 967) to get gas service reference maps. They should call a professional locator to locate their electricity service line – Vector doesn’t own or install customer’s electricity service lines so they don’t have records of where they are.
Additionally, if customers will be working near overhead electricity service lines, Vector also recommends arranging for a temporary power disconnection before doing any work close by. To do this, if you live in Auckland, Manukau or Papakura, call 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867) or if you live in North Shore, Rodney or Waitakere, call your electricity retailer.
Further safety tips and advice are available here