Step away from the ladder: B.C. Hydro reports 'backyard loggers' account for huge jump in power line incidents | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Step away from the ladder: B.C. Hydro reports 'backyard loggers' account for huge jump in power line incidents

May 07, 2021 - 6:00 AM

As people spend more time improving their backyards during the COVID-19 pandemic, so comes a huge jump in the number of people hurting themselves.

B.C. Hydro calls those "electrical contact" incidents and refer to the people hurting themselves as "backyard loggers."

A report from the Crown corporation titled — Trimming trouble: Pandemic leads to more ‘backyard logging’ close calls with electricity in B.C. — says those incident are up 30 per cent since the pandemic began.

B.C. Hydro found there has been a significant increase in contact incidents involving people trimming trees, gardening and working in their yards. Since March of last year, there have been more than 100 incidents, up 80 per cent from 2013 as many are spending more time at home.

Safety experts with B.C. Hydro are concerned this may be the tip of iceberg, saying most electrical contact incidents go unreported. They say touching a power line or other electrical equipment can result in serious injury or death.

That power line in your backyard can carry quite the electrical punch, anywhere from 12,000 to 25,000 volts.

B.C. Hydro speculates the reason for the increase in these shocking incidents is that it found three-quarters of people in B.C. don't bring themselves up to speed on the safety rules before venturing out into the yard with pruning shears, saws and ladders.

The public is being urged to make safety around power lines a priority as the weather heats up and are people are spending more time outdoors in their yards.

Here are some recommendations provided by B.C. Hydro:

  • Follow safe distance rules that focus on a minimum of three metres of clearance from persons, equipment and all parts of a tree. Anyone who cannot do their own pruning or is unsure how to do it safely is urged by BC Hydro to contact a certified utility arborist to prune trees.
  • Call 1-800-BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376) if any part of a tree or hedge is within three metres of a power line.
  • Click or call before you dig: If planting, plan carefully and remember to always click or call BC1 Call before digging to locate any underground electrical or other infrastructure. Make a request online at or call 1-800-474-6886.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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