A range of public warnings is being developed by electricity lines company Unison Networks to prevent tragedies such as the one which killed a boy while he was playing at his grandparents' Napier home 15 months ago.
The warnings are recommended in a report by regional coroner Chris Devonport after an inquiry into the death of Noah Joel McOnie, 7.
One of two sons of Paul and Nic McOnie, who lived at Poraiti, Noah was electrocuted as he grabbed a waratah stake which had been inadvertently embedded near a live cable underneath a grass verge (berm) outside his grandparents' home in Westminster Ave, Tamatea.
He and his older brother were playing while waiting to be picked up by their mother after she finished work on May 2 last year.
The inquiry was told that between the placement of a series of stakes marking out and protecting grass sown after work by Unison two months earlier and the time the tragedy happened, both grandparents had touched the stake several times without a shock.
Grandfather Bruce Burns, who had hammered the stakes into the soft ground to secure polythene over the grass after Unison completed re-laying cables in March, recalled that he had touched the stake just a few hours before the tragedy. With no idea what had caused the boy's collapse, it wasn't until after police and the St John Ambulance Service arrived that he brushed past the stake and felt a shock.
"It was sufficient to make me pull my hand away and give me a fright," he told a police officer. He then warned that it needed to be protected to keep others safe.
Mr Burns said he was sitting on a fence watching as Noah was waiting for a ride on a scooter which was being ridden by his brother, Austin.
"Noah went past me and then wrapped his arms around the waratah," Mr Burns said. "He was facing the road and had his back to me. Noah was standing up while doing this and then leant slightly to the left. He didn't say anything and wasn't moving in any strange way.
"After about 20 seconds, Noah started to collapse to his left and ended up lying on the piece of concrete near the letterbox."
Under police supervision, the site was excavated and the stake, next to the driveway and the footpath, removed by Unison staff.
Six cables had been buried 600mm below the surface, covered by a timber protection. The offending cable had burnt insulation and there was a burn mark on the footpath side of the timber.
The waratah came in direct contact with the 230V cable when the stake moved as the boy played and swung. The author of an independent technical report said it would have been akin to a shock from a 230V power point "except that the duration and intensity of the shock may have been longer and would have been more severe, primarily due to the child having bare feet".
During the inquiry, a report was compiled by Unison, commenting on "suggested" recommendations from the coroner, resulting in final recommendations being made by Mr Devonport.
Company spokesman and customer services manager Danny Gough told Hawke's Bay Today that while the company was totally committed to ensuring public safety around lines, and invested considerably in educating the public "one of the things this tragedy has shown us is that there is always more we can do".
Unison was continuing to work with other authorities and agencies to prevent similar events.
"This was an absolutely terrible tragedy," he said, "and that is something I can't over-emphasise."