Don't be a bunny with electrical safety this Easter

Published: 17 Mar 2016 9:04am

The four days leading up to Easter typically produce a serious spike in electrical safety incidents on farms, roads and workplaces across regional Queensland, according to Ergon Energy.

Community Health and Safety Senior Advisor Glen Cook is concerned that too many people take short-cuts as they try to get everything done before the extended Easter break.

“The result is that we see more incidents impacting on our network from tippers, excavators and farm machinery in those four days than at other times,” he said.

“In the past year, the accidental contact with Ergon’s network has come from trucks on 109 occasions, farm machinery 64, excavators 32, slashers 13, tip trucks 12 and graders five times.

“Every time there is contact with our power lines, poles and stays, there is the potential for the equipment operators and other people in the vicinity to receive an electric shock, or worse.

“And it also causes inconvenience for customers affected by power supply interruptions arising from the impact on our network.

“Our message to people working on machinery near power lines is to take the same precautions in the days leading up to Easter as they do for the rest of the year.

“That includes identifying the electrical hazard on site, appointing a safety observer and remembering the Look Up and Live message.”

Mr Cook said the Easter long weekend also posed additional electrical safety risks, given the number of families using the opportunity to undertake home renovation projects.

“Anyone working near a service line that connects power to their home needs to ‘Look Up and Live’ if using a metal ladder or pool scoop, clearing gutters or painting,” he said.

“Likewise, never cut trees near the service line to the house. In the past 12 months, 30 electrical safety incidents have occurred when trees were cut and damaged the customer service line.

“The best protection against electrical accidents in the home is the installation of a safety switch. But even where a safety switch is installed, it is still important to follow basic electrical safety principles to further reduce the risks.

“For example, don’t use any electrical appliance in an area that is wet and always wear strong, rubber-soled footwear when using power tools.

“Most importantly, remember it’s illegal for an unlicensed person to do any electrical work.”

Mr Cook said motor vehicle accidents often impacted power poles or pillar boxes and Easter caused an increase in these types of incidents.

“In the past year, there have been 258 vehicle accidents that have contacted Ergon assets,” he said.

“When these accidents occur, those at the scene should call Triple Zero, stay clear of the vehicle and advise occupants to remain in the vehicle until Ergon arrives.”

Mr Cook said other popular Easter activities including spending time around a swimming pool and boating and fishing trips also could create electrical safety risks.

“It is essential to keep appliances well away from a pool and for boat owners to ensure masts, radio aerials and extension poles or outriggers don’t come in the vicinity of overhead power lines,” he said.

Media Contact: Rod Rehbein
Phone: 4153 9813 or 0407 031 072

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