As Kiwis we love a bit of DIY and with summer comes the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and spruce up our properties. With the excitement of getting out the tools, gardening gloves or even heavy machinery, it’s easy to forget that there are some hidden dangers around your home that could lead to a serious accident
Here are three simple rules you can follow up to help stay safe around the home this summer.
Rule 1: LOOK UP
Electricity will always look for the quickest way to the ground so make sure it’s not through you.
Look up to avoid touching overhead lines when carrying ladders and other tall objects.
- 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 powerlines, call Treescape on 0800 187 337 to trim the tree safely (first trim is always free)
- If you are putting up an antennae, or other high structure like a flagpole, make sure you check for clearance from lines first. If a powerline is within four metres of where you want to work, make sure you phone 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867) to temporarily disconnect your power supply.
Rule 2: LOOK DOWN
Digging a hole on your property? Don’t dig a hole for yourself.
Underground electricity cables and gas pipes are everywhere. They could be under your lawn or driveway.
- Call 0508 B4U WORK (0508 248 967) to establish the location of electricity cables or gas pipes under your property (or 0800 B4U DIG if outside of Auckland).
- If you have cables or pipes below, make sure you avoid digging in the location where they are present. 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 simple 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 water
- Be sure to use waterproof exterior power plugs
- If you’re putting up fairy lights, make sure they are low voltage and safe for outdoor use. Again, use an RCD so the power is automatically disconnected in the event of a fault.
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