Outdoor Electrical Safety

Planning a home improvement job? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or deck? Call before you dig!

Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips
Whether you are just headed out to do a little work in the yard or are planning on taking on more ambitious outdoor projects, following these tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) can help protect you, your home and your family from harm.

Equipment Safety
  • Inspect electric tools for damage to cords, plugs and wiring. Take the tool to a qualified professional for repair.
  • Protect yourself from injury. Turn the electric tool off, unplug it and put it in the “lock” position when carrying or connecting attachments such as mower baskets or saw blades.
  • Never leave electric tools unattended where children or other unqualified adults can misuse them.
  • Store electric tools indoors to keep them protected from damage caused by water and excessive heat.
Protect Yourself
  • Safety devices on yard and other outdoor electric tools are there for a reason. Make sure that they are always in place before operating.
  • Invest in safety goggles, hearing protection, dust masks, gloves and other safety equipment as recommended for each tool.
  • Wear the appropriate clothes for the job.
Never Take Electricity For Granted
  • A GFCI outlet will automatically disconnect power when a plugged in electric decoration comes in contact with water or begins to “leak” electricity.
  • The National Electric Code now requires GFCIs in bathrooms, garages, kitchens and outdoor outlets.
  • Protect outlets from the elements by making sure that they are covered when not in use.
  • To help prevent electrical fires, keep dry leaves and other debris swept away from outdoor lighting, outlets and power cords.
Extension Cords Safety
  • When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant heavy gauge extension cords marked “for outdoor use.” These weather resistant cords have added safeguards designed to withstand the outdoor environment.
  • Examine cords before each use. Damaged cords should be replaced immediately.
  • Extension cords are for short term use and not for long term power solutions.
  • Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strands clear of snow and standing water, and well protected from the elements.
  • Keep your work area clean and free from debris.
Power Lines: Working Safety Around Them
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when working near electrical wiring. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Check the surrounding area to ensure that you will not accidentally come in contact with overhead power lines.
  • Remember that power lines are underground as well. Before you dig to plant a tree or put in a fence, call 811 to have them come and mark all of the utility lines.