Ekurhuleni: Power parastal Eskom today launched the National Electricity Safety Week to educate communities about the dangers of unsafe electricity use.
Speaking at the launch in Zonkizizwe on Gauteng’s East Rand, Eskom Corporate Occupational Health Safety (OHS) Operational Manager, Alex Stramrood, warned communities about illegal electricity connections.
“We consider it our duty to inform communities across the length and breadth of South Africa about the safe use of electricity.
“It all starts with education, avoiding the dangers of illegal connections and ultimately preventing the loss of innocent lives, which is a consequence of the unsafe use of electricity,” he said.
Eskom has identified the biggest contributors to electrical accidents, injuries and deaths as, among others, contact with low lying and fallen power lines, unsafe connections, vandalism, illegal power connections and cable theft.
This year, Eskom conducted educational shows in Katlehong, Welkom, Nquthu, Khayelithsa, Ngcobo, Kamhlushwa, Lichtenburg, Kuruman and Moeketsi.
“We have found that most people understand that electricity can be dangerous but often they can’t identify risky situations and they aren’t sure how to respond. That is why we travelled across the country to educate people, with the ultimate aim of reducing fatalities and injuries,” Stramrood said.
He said during winter months, people who do not have electric heaters or stoves resort to repurposing gas or paraffin appliances to be powered by electricity to stay warm or to cook.
“I cannot overstate how dangerous it is to convert non-electrical appliances. We at Eskom are committed to a policy of zero harm,” he said.
Eskom also provided some safety tips on electricity, such as:
Avoid pulling plugs out by the cord as this damages the cable and can lead to electrical wires being exposed;
Don’t put bare electrical wires into sockets;
Don’t touch any electrical appliances with wet hands;
Never use electricity in the bathroom – water and electricity are a dangerous combination;
Do not pass electric cords from one room to another through hinges of doors or windows where they can be squashed or damaged;
Don’t overload plug points;
Never leave electrical appliances unattended while in use; and
Switch off heaters, stoves and kettles when no longer in use and ensure that you purchase electrical products from reputable companies, distributers and retailers.
Eskom also encouraged parents to educate their children about not playing near power lines or substations, not to fly kites near power lines and if a kite gets stuck in a power line they should not try to retrieve it.
Eskom also called on communities to report unsafe electricity situations on 08600 37566.