We already knew about the dog that got electrocuted to death at Keele and Annette Streets and other dogs that have been shocked by sidewalk handwells, but now this danger has entered the human world. A child got shocked earlier today after stepping on a handwell at the corner of Dundas and Sumach Streets.
Handwells are those circular metal ground plates that cover underground wires, and I don't know about you, but I'll be stepping over them from now on. The kid who got the jolt today is fine, but when it comes to stray voltage, I like to err on the side of caution.
Hydro's taking this shocking situation seriously.
Starting tomorrow morning, all non-emergency hydro workers will be assigned to check and repair every ground plate, also known as a handwell, in the city. The workers will start in the downtown core, where the oldest hydro equipment is, and where problems have been reported.
The operation will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the repairs in older sections of the city expected to be complete by the end of February.
"We are redeploying our entire workforce," O'Brien told CBC News. "We have about 600 employees that will be moved off their regular jobs and will be focusing on going down every street."
Toronto Hydro started inspecting handwells after the first dog died in November, but with the latest incident involving a child, the company is increasing the scope of its operations.
The problem stems from a combination of weather and aging infrastructure, Toronto Hydro officials said. Salty, slushy water seeps into handwells, comes into contact with corroding wires and releases electricity. Hydro workers will resolve the problem by encasing all handwell wiring in rubber and plastic to create a water-tight barrier.
Heed my advice, step over the handwells!