AUSTIN – May is National Electrical Safety Month.

We use electricity every day, we are surrounded by it and most of us think we know enough about electricity to stay safe and keep our family out of harm’s way.

However, every year hundreds of people die, thousands are injured and millions of dollars in property damage are caused by electrical hazards that could have been avoided.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation encourages Texans to review electrical safety practices before beginning summer yard work or any outdoor project that includes the use of electric tools or work around power lines.

If your project involves the installation or modification of electrical wiring contact a licensed electrical contractor to perform the work.

Equipment Safety

Before beginning work inspect each electric tool for damage to its cord, plugs and wiring. If damage has occurred take the equipment to a qualified professional for repair.

Protect yourself from injury. Always turn the electric tool off, unplug it and put it in the lock position when carrying or connecting attachments such as saw blades.

Never leave electric equipment unattended where children can harm themselves.

Protect Yourself

Safety devices are there for a reason, never remove them. Always make sure they are in place before operating the equipment.

Wear appropriate clothing for the job. Wear safety goggles, hearing protection, dust masks, gloves and other safety equipment as recommended for each piece of equipment.

Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when working near electrical wiring. Metal ladders can conduct electricity and pose a threat of electrocution.

Extension Cord Safety

Use only weather-resistant heavy gauge extension cords that are marked for outdoor usage. Weather-resistant cords have added safeguards to withstand the outdoor environment.

Examine your extension cords before each use and replace damaged cords immediately.

Extension cords are for short-term, temporary use and not for long-term power solutions.

Keep all outdoor extension cords clear of standing water and protected from the elements.

Power Line Safety

Check the surrounding area to ensure you will not accidentally come in contact with overhead power lines.

Remember that power lines are underground as well. Before you dig a hole, call Texas One Call System at 1-800-245-4545 and find out where all the utility lines in your yard are located.

For you and your family’s safety, TDLR recommends:

• Contact a licensed electrical contractor to have a licensed electrician check your home’s electrical wiring/distribution system to reduce the likelihood of electrocution and fires.

• Leave the electrical work to professionals. Do not attempt to fix suspected wiring problems yourself. Shut off the circuit and have the electrical system checked by a licensed electrician. Remember, electrical shocks – even mild ones – are an indication of an electrical hazard.

Visit the TDLR web site at www.license.state.tx.us to find out if an electrician is licensed to perform electrical work. The license is granted to professionals who have demonstrated the required amount of electrical work experience, successfully completed the Department approved examination and met all other state electrical laws and rules.

If you find a person is offering to perform or performing electrical services without a license file a complaint online at the TDLR Web site and help us make Texas a safer place for all of us.