Safety is a way of life for all of us at Grand Bahama Power. Whether at work or at home, we ask our employees to do things in the safest way possible.
We think about your safety too. Here you’ll find out more about using electricity safely.
General Safety Rules
Power Line Safety
Operating near or under power lines poses unique hazards, and the following precautions should be followed to reduce potential equipment damage or injury:
- Don’t operate heavy equipment under power lines.
- Don’t drive with long antennas under power lines.
- Don’t park under power lines. The magnetic field around energized power lines can induce an electrical charge in ungrounded vehicles or equipment. This charge can shock anyone who touches the vehicle.
- Deactivated transmission and distribution lines may continue to pose a hazard due to induction.
- If power lines fall on your vehicle, DON’T leave the vehicle until the power company arrives. If the vehicle is on fire or fire is near, jump clear, don’t hang on, keep feet together, and bunny hop away.
Stay put, stay safe
Being in a vehicle that encounters a downed power line is extremely dangerous. If this happens to you, you should:
- Stay in your vehicle and call 919 for help. You are safe from electrocution as long as you are in your vehicle.
- Keep co-workers and the public away from your vehicle.
Staying in your vehicle is always the first choice. If you absolutely must exit because of other circumstances such as fire, jump clear with both feet together. Do not touch any other part of the vehicle. Then shuffle with both feet away from the scene until you are at least 20 meters, or 65 feet away.
Carefully check your tires
Contact with high voltage may cause severe internal and external burning of tire rubber. The tire could fail immediately, in 15 minutes or after several days, depending on the damage.
- Do not drive the vehicle before carefully checking the tires.
- Allow tires to cool for at least one hour before examining.
- Have damaged tires inspected by a qualified tire facility.
- Inspect hydraulic equipment.
- Inspect computer equipment.
Electricity is an important part of modern day living, it is also dangerous. Electricity flows through our power lines and into customers’ homes as a current. This current is always trying to get to the ground—it’s just physics. Grounding ensures that the current gets to the ground through a wire—not through someone touching it.
A primary reason for grounding is SAFETY. A properly grounded system will protect people from electrocution & equipment from damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is my responsibility for the grounding of my home?
A: All customer meter cans must be grounded, by a qualified electrician, with a wire running from the grounding bar to a copper rod driven into the earth.
Q: Why should I care about grounding in my home?
A: Electrical wires that are not properly grounded may result in a shock or electrocution if you were to come into contact with it.
Q: What is GBPC’s responsibility for grounding?
A: All GBPC power poles are grounded with a wire running down the side to the bottom of the pole. This helps to protect the equipment from lightning damage.
Q: What does copper theft have to do with grounding and outages?
A: Theft of copper compromises the integrity of our system, and can result in increased outages as the system becomes less resistant to high current levels due to lightning or equipment malfunctions. Theft of copper can also cause serious safety issues. (2) GBPC is investing millions of dollars to improve the reliability of our system and the theft of the copper groundings diminishes the efforts to improve customer reliability and the overall quality of electric service.
Portable generators are internal combustion engines used to generate electricity and are regularly utilized during disaster response. Portable generators can be dangerous if used incorrectly, even leading to carbon monoxide, even leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. Shocks and electrocution may result from improper use of power or accidentally energizing other electrical systems.
Carbon monoxide from the generator’s exhaust presents a potential hazard. Fires can occur from improperly refueling the generator or inappropriately storing fuel.
- Inspect portable generators for damage or loose fuel lines that may have occurred during transportation and/or handling.
- Always keep the generator dry.
- Maintain and operate portable generators in accordance with the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
- Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of a structure unless the generator has a properly installed transfer switch. Doing this presents a risk of electrocution for utility workers.
- Always plug electrical appliances directly into the generator using the manufacturers supplied cords.
- Use undamaged heavy duty extension cords that are grounded (3-pronged).
- Before refueling, shut down the generator.
- Never store fuel indoors.
- Never use a generator indoors.
- Never place a generator outdoors near doors, windows, or vents.
Meter Reader Safety
When our meter readers are able to safely enter your property and get an accurate meter reading, it allows your power bill to be calculated based on actual household consumption rather than on an estimate.
Here are some tips to remember for your next meter reader visit:
- In the summer, keep vegetation such as flowers, bushes and weeds clear of the meter – be careful not to damage the meter when trimming.
- For indoor meters, the path leading to the meter should be kept clutter-free and well lit to help spot potential hazards.
- If you have a dog, big or small, please make sure that they are properly secured or effectively restrained away from the meter.
- Keep yard access gates in good repair.
- On your meter read date please unlock your gates.
- Ensure your sidewalks are kept clear of any debris that may be hazardous to your meter reader.
- Ensure a safe clear path all the way to your meter; hidden hazards may be a source of injury to your meter reader.
- Keep the area around the meter free from clutter; avoid using this area for storage.
- Be aware of the location of your meter, what might have been free and easy access when the meter was installed, may now be a hazard. New construction may place the meter in an undesirable location.
Safety at Home
Follow these tips to be safe around electricity at home:
- If your power goes out frequently or the lights in your home flicker, produce an odor or make noise, have an electrician come to inspect your wiring.
- The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This is a tool that protects you from a dangerous shock when water and electricity come together. An electrician can install a GFCI for you.
- All electrical outlets and switches should be covered by “faceplates.”
- All electrical cords should be in good condition.
- Don’t tie or knot cords. Don’t let furniture sit on cords.
- Use the right light bulbs in all lamps and light fixtures. Look inside the light fixture. Find a label that tells you which light bulb size (wattage) is right for the fixture.
- Look for a mark on the label such as ETL or UL when you buy electrical appliances (such as toasters, microwaves or coffee makers) and cords. This will tell you the product has been tested for safety.
- Unplug toaster ovens, coffee makers and other small appliances after using them.
- Keep appliances dry and away from water at all times.
- Don’t plug in too many appliances at once.
- Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.
- Appliances that generate heat, such as clocks, televisions and computer monitors, should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling. Do not drape clothes, toys or other items over warm appliances.
- Always follow appliance instructions carefully, and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.
- Keep all electrical appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip.
- Do not operate any electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing in water.
- Keep clothes, curtains, toys and other potentially combustible materials at least three feet away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.
- Keep trees pruned and away from power lines overhead as well as where the power lines approach the house.
- Do not fly kites, model aircraft or balloons near power lines.
- When using a ladder, carefully inspect the surrounding area to be sure it is free from power lines.
- Do not swim or play in water during an electrical storm, even if it is not raining.
- Do not approach a downed power line to see if it is live – it may give no signs that can be easily observed, but it is just as deadly. Contact GBPC immediately about downed lines.
- Fires are frequently caused by improper installation of electrical devices by untrained electricians.
- It is essential to remember that water and electricity do not mix. This is extremely dangerous and must be avoided at all times.
- When you use electrical devices safely, you can prevent electrical problems
- Always use the proper size fuse. Never place a penny behind a fuse when you do not have a spare fuse.
- Clothing or towels should never be placed on a lampshade. This is a fire hazard.
- Ensure that proper wattage is used on all light fixtures. Most light fixtures are labeled to indicate the brightest bulb that can be safely used.
- Use only extension cords that are rated for the power used by the device they are powering.
- Ensure that only authorized and licensed electricians conduct electrical installations.
- All electrical appliances used outdoors should be designed for that purpose.
Safety at Work
Follow these steps to work safely around electricity:
- Inspect tools, power cords, and electrical fittings for damage or wear prior to each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment immediately.
- Always tape cords to walls or floors when necessary. Nails and staples can damage cords causing fire and shock hazards.
- Use cords or equipment that is rated for the level of amperage or wattage that you are using.
- Always use the correct size fuse. Replacing a fuse with one of a larger size can cause excessive currents in the wiring and possibly start a fire.
- Be aware that unusually warm or hot outlets may be a sign that unsafe wiring conditions exists. Unplug any cords to these outlets and do not use until a qualified electrician has checked the wiring.
- Always use ladders made of wood or other non-conductive materials when working with or near electricity or power lines.
- Make sure that exposed receptacle boxes are made of non-conductive materials.
- Know where the breakers and boxes are located in case of an emergency.
- Label all circuit breakers and fuse boxes clearly. Each switch should be positively identified as to which outlet or appliance it is for.
- Do not use outlets or cords that have exposed wiring.
- Do not use power tools with the guards removed.
- Do not block access to circuit breakers or fuse boxes.
- Do not touch a person or electrical apparatus in the event of an electrical accident. Always disconnect the current first.
- Switch tools OFF before connecting them to a power supply.
- Disconnect power supply before making adjustments.
- Do not bypass the switch and operate the tools by connecting and disconnecting the power cord.
- Do not clean tools with flammable or toxic solvents.
- Do not operate tools in an area containing explosive vapors or gases, unless they are intrinsically safe and only if you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Keep power cords clear of tools during use.
- Suspend power cords over aisles or work areas to eliminate stumbling or tripping hazards.
- Replace open front plugs with dead front plugs. Dead front plugs are sealed and present less danger of shock or short circuit.
- Do not use light duty power cords.
- Do not carry electrical tools by the power cord.
- Do not tie power cords in tight knots. Knots can cause short circuits and shocks. Loop the cords or use a twist lock plug.