Eskom launches National Electricity Safety Month

Electricity related injuries and deaths will come under the spotlight as Eskom has embarked on its National Electricity Safety Month.

During the course of August, Eskom officials will visit various communities and schools around the country to educate South Africans about using electricity safely and responsibly.

The aim of the campaign, said the power utility on Wednesday, is to ensure that people don’t suffer serious or fatal injuries due to the unsafe use of electricity.

One person losing their life or getting injured because of the unsafe use of electricity is simply one too many, especially because these are avoidable incidents. We as Eskom want to eliminate all injuries and fatalities caused by electricity and ask communities to help us in this continuous battle.

We know what the biggest causes of these dangerous incidents are and therefore appeal to all South Africans to assist us by not connecting illegally and making sure that all electrical cables and appliances in the home are safe and in a good condition.

We place more emphasis on electricity safety in August every year, but our campaigns and community education sessions run throughout the year, said Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Senior Manager at Eskom, Miranda Moahlodi.

Last year, a number of members of the public passed away and many suffered serious injuries due to unsafe or illegal uses of electricity, and other electricity-related issues.

The main cause was illegal connections, which are extremely dangerous since these are made with no or poor insulation, or that the wires touch other metal objects such as shacks or fences, which then become energised and could electrocute people.

While issues like illegal connections, vandalism, electricity/cable theft, meter tampering and bypassing are national problems, there are some areas with a high prevalence. These hot spot areas are in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Eskom officials will be shining the spotlight on these areas during this week and bringing members of the public important messages on how to stay safe from harm, said Moahlodi.

Eskom is looking to use this intensive month-long campaign to also encourage all community members to report any unsafe conditions or connections they come across by calling 08600 ESKOM (37566).

These include exposed electrical wiring, low-hanging cables, illegal connections and cable theft.

Our major concern in the case of illegal connections is that danger is posed not only to the people who make the connections but also to the rest of their community, particularly children. These connections unfairly inconvenience law-abiding and paying customers, as they often cause power failures due to overloading of the network, said Moahlodi.

The power utility has urged South Africans to always get qualified electricians to do any electrical connections or repairs.

Source: South African Government News Agency