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ESV urges caution after crane hits powerlines

Energy Safe Victoria Commission Chairperson Marnie Williams has called on machinery operators to be aware of overhead powerlines after an incident involving a crane left two people in hospital with serious injuries.

According to initial reports, a truck with an integral crane (a crane truck) was delivering timber roof trusses to a construction site made contact with overhead 22kV lines in Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.

The truck was parked and the crane arm made contact with the high voltage line. Two men were injured, one is in a serious condition. The incident is under investigation by both WorkSafe and ESV.

“I cannot comment on the specifics of this incident as it is still under investigation,” Ms Williams said.

“However, anyone operating machinery such as cranes, crane trucks and tipper trucks must Look Up and Live. That means they have to be aware of powerlines, particularly in rural and regional areas where single bare powerlines are often hard to see.

“As we have seen from this incident, it can cause serious injuries. People have also died. These incidents are preventable if operators of machinery take precautions.”

Victoria has suffered two fatalities in recent years. A tipper truck driver was killed while making a delivery in Kergunyah in north eastern Victoria in 2018. The tipper touched powerlines, causing the entire truck to become electrified.

A farmworker was also killed late last year when the extendable boom on the telehandler he was operating came into contact with overhead powerlines in Gerung Gerung, in north western Victoria. The farm worker got out of the telehandler and received a fatal electric shock.

ESV’s Look Up and Live campaign has been running for close to 10 years.

It calls on workers and operators of such machinery to be aware of powerlines and plan how to safely undertake their work before they begin.

ESV recommends the following:

  • Understand No Go Zones. These include rules and distances for safety clearances near overhead powerlines. People and equipment working anywhere near powerlines need to understand the No Go Zone requirements to stay safe and away from live powerlines
  • Monitor weather conditions closely – powerlines can sag in extreme heat and sway in strong winds
  • Powerlines are more difficult to see at dawn and dusk
  • Remember that electricity can jump across air gaps.

For more information go to our website Look Up and Live page.

Media contact: Jonathan Granger 0400 948 934 | jonathan.granger@energysafe.vic.gov.au

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