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Report: 5 percent of deaths from electrocution caused by poor ladder placement

Construction working climbing ladder to the roof

May is National Electrical Safety Month, which is appropriate given the fact that this time of year is when many Virginians began taking out electric lawn equipment, setting up their swimming pools and undergoing major home renovations that necessitate the use of electrical devices. As a result, Virginia residents are more likely to encounter electrical hazards or fall victim to an electrical mishap in the spring than probably any other time of year.

According to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are roughly 400 electrocutions in the United States annually. Of those 400, almost half are related to consumer products that are mishandled, installed poorly or have faulty wiring. The largest portion of these fatalities involve large household appliances that are used by millions of Americans every day.

While 20 percent of the total mishaps were caused by faulty wiring, another big percentage of electrocutions are actually related to the power lines. Nearly 5 percent of all deaths from these electrocutions were caused when a ladder contacted one of these high-voltage wires during routine home maintenance.

If you are looking to undergo a home renovation that requires use of a ladder, be careful to avoid placing it anywhere near your home's main connection to the power grid. You don't even have to come into direct contact with these lines to become electrocuted, as a good portion of these incidents are caused by electrical arcing between the wire and a ladder. Because of this danger, remain at least 10 feet beneath any power line when you set your ladder up.

Before you begin any refurbishing projects, have an experienced Alexandria or Fairfax electrician come evaluate your property and your home's wiring to make sure all electricity is contained and no members of your family are harmed. John C. Flood is one such experienced electrical service that has been serving the Mid Atlantic for more than 100 years.