Recent Fruit-Picking Injury Underscores Need for Caution Around Power Lines
Hawaiian Electric issued a reminder to customers to use extreme caution when picking fruit near overhead power lines. The word of advice comes following an incident in Wahiawā last week that left a man injured after a metal fruit picker he was using contacted a power line.
“With summer right around the corner, many residents look forward to harvesting local fruits across Hawaiian Electric’s five-island service territory. But the company wants residents to stay safe and avoid serious injury – or death – when picking fruits near power lines,” the company advised.
Since 2014, Hawaiian Electric has annually reported anywhere from zero to two incidents in which a member of the public was seriously injured or died due to contact with electrical equipment.
To avoid risk, the company offered the following tips:
- Always look up and around for power lines before starting any harvesting or trimming activity. If any part of the tree is touching overhead power lines, the tree can become energized and you should not touch the tree.
- Use the 10-foot-rule: Always keep your body and any ladders, tools or other implements at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
- Don’t use ladders or fruit pickers near power lines. Keep any type of ladders, fruit pickers, poles or other tools at least ten feet away from the lines.
- Never trim trees that have power lines going through them or touch any tree limb that may fall into a power line. It is strongly recommended that a qualified arborist be used to trim and maintain your trees, especially trees near power lines.
- If a person comes into contact with a power line, assume the line is energized and dangerous. Do not attempt to free the person from the power line. Steer clear and warn others to keep away. Call 911 immediately for emergency help.
If you see any object caught in a power line, assume the line is energized and do not attempt to free it yourself. Call Hawaiian Electric’s Trouble Line at one of the following or call 911 in an emergency:
- Oʻahu: 1-855-304-1212
- Maui: (808) 871-7777
- Molokaʻi/Lānaʻi: 1-877-871-8461
- Hawaiʻi Island: (808) 969-6666