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Worker electrocuted on a farm in North West Victoria

Energy Safe Victoria has warned all people working on farms using large machinery or vehicles to beware of overhead powerlines.

The warning comes after the death of a farmworker when the telescopic boom on the telehandler he was operating came into contact with overhead powerlines in north west Victoria. The farm worker got out of the vehicle and received a fatal electric shock. More information is available here.

Since 2010, four workers have died on Victorian farms after the vehicle or machinery they were operating made contact with overhead powerlines. All these deaths were preventable.

ESV urges people to look up and live. Know your area for work and check for powerlines before work commences. Also:

  • Identify all electrical hazards before starting work – if in any doubt contact the local electricity distribution company
  • Plan work so that equipment or machinery cannot physically come closer than 6.4 metres to powerlines when:
    • loading and unloading
    • lifting
    • tipping
  • Never set up or operate extendable equipment or machinery under 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

If you accidentally make contact with a powerline:

  • Stay inside the vehicle or machinery – do not exit while the vehicle or machinery is in contact with the overhead powerline
  • Call 000 if anyone is injured or if there is an immediate risk
  • Call the power company who owns the powerlines at your location
  • Wait for instruction from the representative of the local power company.

More information can be found in the ESV Electrical safety on farms brochure.

Property owners can also get a free farm safety sign, warning people entering the property of the presence of powerlines. For more information click here.