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Do-it-yourselfer? Don’t get shocked!

This article was published in August 2020 and may be outdated.

Summer projects like building a deck or fence may involve the use of power tools outdoors.

Manitoba Hydro wants to keep you safe. Remember, even a little current can kill. If you feel a shock while using an electric tool, safely discard it the first time it shocks you — the next time you may not be so lucky.

Follow these easy tips so your tools don’t get the better of you this summer:

  • Always use the right tool for the job. Do not try to make do – a drill is not a hammer. Only use tools for the jobs they were designed to do.
  • Keep your tools and your work area dry. Make sure your work site is clean and well-lit to help prevent slips or accidental electric shocks. Always make sure you are properly rooted – keep your balance and footing.
  • To prevent an electrical shock, avoid body contact with ground surfaces and always use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. A GFCI outlet monitors electricity flowing in a circuit. If the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning, the GFCI will shut off the current flowing through the circuit, preventing electric shock. GFCIs can detect even small variations in the amount of leakage current; leakage too small to trip a fuse or circuit breaker.
  • When you’ve finished with the tool in use, unplug it. Ensure you unplug any tool before changing accessories such as blades or bits. When unplugging a tool, don’t yank on the cord – pull it out by the plug. Do not expose the cord to heat or to sharp edges.
  • Keep your power tools sharp and clean so they work at their best. Always follow instructions when lubricating and changing accessories and be sure to keep all handles dry and clean.
  • When working, keep others away from your work site and do not allow them to contact tools or extension cords.
  • When you’re done using your tools, put them away – store them in a dry, locked location where children cannot access them.

See more home safety tips.