News release

Report: 'Weekend logger' electrical contact incidents on the rise

VANCOUVER — A report released by BC Hydro finds electrical contact incidents involving “weekend loggers” are up 60 per cent from 2013.

The report titled Crossing the line: The dangerous rise of incidents involving power lines and 'weekend loggers' [PDF, 532KB] found there have been more than 400 incidents over the past five years – and many more go unreported. Many of these incidents could have resulted in serious injury or death. In fact, the report estimates 7,500 British Columbians have had a close call with electricity while pruning trees or doing work on a roof, such as cleaning gutters or replacing shingles.

According to a survey of 800 British Columbians conducted for the report, a large number of “weekend loggers” – homeowners trimming trees and pruning hedges on their property – are unprepared or unaware of vital safety rules:

  • 80 per cent of those surveyed do not know how far their tools should be from overhead power lines when doing yard work; and,
  •  60 per cent of those surveyed trim trees, bushes and hedges near power lines without the help of a professional.

“Contact with a power line can cause severe injury or death – and accidents happen every year,” said Chris O’Riley, President and Chief Operating Officer, BC Hydro. “That’s why we want to remind the public that when trimming a tree, a property owner, their equipment and the tree should be at least three metres – about a car length – away from a power line.”

The same report also finds there are other important safety rules British Columbians are unaware of:

  • 30 per cent of those surveyed are under the mistaken impression that tools and ladders must touch a power line to be dangerous; however, electricity can "arc" or jump from power lines across a gap to tools and ladders; and,
  • 20 per cent of those surveyed believe trees cannot conduct electricity; however, trees do conduct electricity and branches that touch power lines can make the tree a safety hazard – especially when wet.

Public safety is a top priority at BC Hydro where safety is promoted year-round through a number of channels, including radio, television, online and face-to-face at community events. It also offers safety programs for elementary and secondary students as well as free training for trades workers and first responders.

For more information on how to stay safe around electricity, visit bchydro.com/besafe.

Contact:

BC Hydro Media Relations
604 928 6468