Devil in the detail of network incidents says Ergon

Published: 5 Jun 2015 8:46am

Better detail about electricity network incidents is providing a clearer picture than ever before about accidental contact with powerlines and is helping with Ergon Energy's ongoing plans to end such dangers.

New information reported through Ergon's latest Community Electrical Safety Awareness Plan (CESAP) shows an increase in the number of reported electrical incidents on the electricity network – but is also proving where the "Look up and Live" message and other safety advice is having a positive effect.

A total of 452 community electrical incidents were reported to Ergon Energy in the 2013/14 year.

Statistics on network incidents are now revealing not just the type of community incident or number of incidents per industry sector, but specific activities or equipment involved in these potentially deadly accidents.

Executive General Manager Customer Service Peter Billing said a better understanding of incidents would help Ergon target its safety messages.

An alarming 76 per cent* of industry-related network incidents involved contact with overhead powerlines according to Mr Billing.

"More detailed incident data is starting to reveal the causal factors and will help us deliver more effective safety strategies," Mr Billing said.

"For example, while we have known for some time that road and transport incidents make up a large percentage of all network impacts, we are now getting a clearer picture which shows that high-load incidents are a growing problem," he explained.

"As another example we now also know that excavators are the machine most likely to be involved in construction industry incidents and our plan is to engage more effectively with those operators."

However Ergon's CESAP is also proving the success of recent safety campaigns and industry partnering with decreases in agriculture industry incidents and aviation accidents.

"We know that targeting safety strategies to specific industries works to get vital safety messages front of mind – but there is still more work to be done," Mr Billing said.

While there were no deaths related to electricity network impacts and a decreased number of serious injuries last year, an increase in the number of reported accidental contacts with Ergon Energy's network is a key focus on the organisation's CESAP.

"Our CESAP outlines initiatives and actions to educate and enable the community to keep themselves safe around our assets – whether at home or place of work," Mr Billing said.

"We treat every reported electrical incident seriously and we want everyone to work with us to end the danger that is very real whenever there is accidental contact with powerlines," he said.

* This percentage excludes motor vehicle accidents.

Media Contact: Mark Timmerman
Phone: 0408 065 088

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