Truck drivers urged to stay clear of power poles

Published: 4 Nov 2016 4:06pm

A truck driver has had a lucky escape after hitting a power pole support stay and bringing down live powerlines near Innisfail on Thursday.

Ergon Energy Tropical North Customer Delivery Manager Charlie Casa said the accident was avoidable and a timely reminder that drivers of trucks and large vehicles need to take responsibility when driving near Ergon Energy power poles and other assets.

“This driver’s really lucky - the impact broke cross arms on the pole and brought live powerlines down,” Mr Casa said.

“This accident involved the truck hitting a stay which supports the power pole and this caused an outage that affected 1000 customers and took about four hours to restore.”

“We’ve had a number of incidents over recent months where trucks have damaged power poles and we also had outages from vehicles hitting our poles.”

Mr Casa said it was important that drivers of trucks and other heavy machinery in agricultural areas took particular care when working around powerlines.

“Keeping a safe distance between machinery and powerlines is even more vital in the case of high voltage lines, as operators don't need to come into contact with them to be at risk of electric shock - electricity can arc or jump if conductive material comes close enough and that's why it's vital to stay well away."

Safety laws make it illegal to operate machinery such as cane harvesters, haul-out vehicles, cranes and excavators within three metres of powerlines unless operators are authorised.

Information about safety legislation and exclusion zones is available here:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/agriculture/workplace-hazards/electrical-safety-in-the-rural-industry#lookup

Ergon Energy also has information on safety around powerlines at:

https://www.ergon.com.au/network/safety/business-safety/the-outdoor-workplace/working-near-powerlines

Media Contact: Brett Judge
Phone: 0439 971 765

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