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Machinery operators contact powerlines

Published: 17 Aug 2017 4:52pm

Two machinery operators in separate incidents contacted overhead powerlines in north and far north Queensland today prompting Ergon Energy to warn operators to look up and live when working near powerlines.

Customer Delivery Manager Charlie Casa said a cane harvester contacted lines in Giru in the Burdekin and an excavator touched lines at Tully this afternoon.

“In both cases the lines came down on the machinery. The operators did the right thing and stayed in their machines for their own safety until our crews removed the lines.”

Power was interrupted to several hundred customers in both areas. Ergon crews worked to reconnect the powerlines to the poles and energise them to restore power.

Mr Casa said cane harvesting is underway across the region and in many cases with day and night operations.

He advised farmers and harvesters to:

  • think through the task and identify all electrical hazards;
  • assess the risks;
  • establish and introduce control measures;
  • clear around power poles and pole stay wires during daylight only;
  • do the job safely and have a safety observer on hand;
  • look out for your mates;
  • keep a safe distance between machinery and powerlines

“That’s because electricity can arc – or jump if conductive material comes close enough and that’s why it’s vital to stay well away.”

Machinery must not be operated within three meters of powerlines unless people are appropriately authorised persons to comply with the law.

Information about safety legislation and exclusion zones is available here:


Ergon Energy also has information on working near powerlines at:


Media Contact: Corporate Communications Manager John Fowler
Phone: 44328730