Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is warning workers to be aware of nearby powerlines when operating heavy machinery after a Geelong man was hospitalised when a crane rolled and fell onto powerlines that landed near him.
ESV, paramedics and police attended the incident in North Valley Road in Highton just before 4pm on 25 November when a 10-tonne bubble crane brought high and low voltage powerlines to the ground. The crane operator reportedly moved the crane down the driveway at the worksite while the boom was extended, leading to the crane rolling and falling onto powerlines on the opposite side of the road.
Unfortunately, a 37-year-old man mowing his lawn nearby received an electric shock as the broken powerlines landed within 10 metres of him. He was taken to hospital but was well enough to return home later that evening.
Other members of the community avoided injury thanks to a licensed electrician working nearby who rushed over, warning onlookers to stay away and for the machinery operator to remain in the crane cabin until the power was turned off.
More than 600 properties were without power overnight with service not restored until 6.15am the following morning.
ESV is currently investigating the incident, which also serves as a reminder to the community to stay at least 10 metres away from fallen powerlines, as a person can still be shocked.
For more than a decade, ESV’s Look Up and Live campaign has aimed to educate machinery operators on the dangers when operating vehicles around powerlines as the threat of shock or a fatal electrocution being a real risk.
ESV reported a total of 20 similar incidents across the state in October, one involving high voltage powerlines and the rest low voltage. Contact was made by trucks, excavators, tip trucks, a tree branch, a scissor lift and a crane. Look Up and Live also reminds Victorians that if a piece of machinery does hit powerlines and you are inside the vehicle, to stay inside.
If they’re not inside the vehicle, they need to remain up to 10 metres away, as people can still be shocked when approaching the vehicle.
Below are a few simple safety tips to avoid striking overhead powerlines:
- Understand No Go Zones, rules and distances for safety clearances around overhead powerlines,
- Ensure an ESV-registered spotter is on hand when operating machinery near overhead powerlines,
- Display Look Up and Live stickers on any machinery or equipment that can be raised overhead.
Remember powerlines are more difficult to see at dawn and dusk and that electricity can jump gaps.
ESV Chairperson and Commissioner Marnie Williams
“This incident was completely avoidable and there are two important messages to take away from it. Machinery operators need to ensure they always follow the correct procedures for the equipment they are operating.” “It also reinforces the message to stay more than 10 metres away from fallen powerlines because you can still be shocked.”
Reviewed 24 January 2023