Outdoor safety

Stay safe around electrical equipment throughout the city.

We want our customers to be safe when spending time outdoors. Whether you’re playing with your kids, walking your pets, or just exploring the city, be aware of the electrical equipment around you. This section lists tips and information to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Contact voltage

What is contact voltage?

Contact voltage is the electricity that may be present on the surface of outdoor structures. These include streetlighting equipment, hydro poles, transformer boxes, handwells, bus shelters and street signs. Contact voltage poses a serious shock hazard to people and animals.

What causes contact voltage?

Contact voltage is caused by aging infrastructure or changes in the underground electrical set up, such as construction work in the area.

How can you and your pet avoid contact voltage?

Avoid contact with electrical equipment. Don’t touch streetlights, hydro poles, transformer boxes, bus shelters or street signs. Walk around handwells, which are usually located three to four feet from electric poles.

How do you report contact voltage?

If you experience contact voltage, call 911 immediately. Toronto Emergency Services are trained to deal with electric shock and will notify Toronto Hydro to make the equipment safe.

If your pet experiences contact voltage, report it to Toronto Hydro directly at 416-542-8000.

Crew safety

What to do when approaching a construction site

  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions such as cell phone use or eating
  • Make eye contact, whenever possible, with people operating equipment
  • Follow all safety signage, even if workers are not present
  • Walk on the sidewalk or designated walkway
  • Ask for assistance to walk around the construction area if you feel you're unable or uncomfortable
  • Report any dangerous activities to a construction site worker or by calling us at 416-542-8000

What not to do when approaching a construction site

  • Don't enter a construction site. Take alternative routes to your destination if you know the location of a construction zone
  • Don't run or play in construction areas
  • Don't lean, stand, or climb on equipment, fences, or any other construction materials
  • Don't approach hazardous areas marked by fences or safety cones
  • Don't distract construction workers who are operating construction equipment or vehicles

Road safety

Our crews work day and night to keep electricity flowing to your home and business. Be patient and cautious while driving by our work zones.

Tips for drivers

  • Slow down when approaching a work zone
  • Focus on the road. Distracted driving is dangerous, especially for crews working around high voltage equipment. Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel
  • Drive according to conditions. When driving at night or in inclement weather, slow down and pay extra attention. Studies show an increase in traffic and pedestrian fatalities during the fall time change
  • Share the road and respect the cones. Whether you're on two wheels or four, make room for each other on the road. Cones mark safe distances from dangerous equipment to keep you and our crews safe

Tips for pedestrians

  • Wait for vehicles to make full stops before crossing in front of them
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers before stepping off the curb
  • Only cross at traffic signals, crosswalks and stop signs

Cyclist information

Sometimes our crews require the use of sidewalks, bike lanes or roads to perform maintenance or emergency repairs. This type of work involves dangerous electrical equipment. We make every effort to minimize disruption and help ensure the safety of cyclists, including creating temporary bike lanes whenever possible.

Cycle safely

CycleTO contains many resources for cycling safely throughout the city.

Visit CycleTO