Electric Shock Sends Crane Operator to Hospital

An accident that happened on a rural Queensland property recently is an example of the electrical hazards associated with crane operation and heavy machinery operation in general. A crane operator was hospitalised after the crane he was in control of came into contact with powerlines causing him to suffer an electric shock.

Reports said that emergency crews were called to the property north of Pratten last week where the man had been electrocuted. The man was apparently using a crane mounted on a truck when the machinery clipped powerlines.

Powerlines present a risk to operators that should be identified and addressed in advance, so that incidents like this do not occur. An article on SafetyCulture.com.au also highlighted another similar incident during which a council worker was hospitalised after sustaining an electric shock due to contact with fallen powerlines. The article explained:

100x100xcrane.jpg.pagespeed.ic.i_NsgfgEqMEarly last month, a council employee in NSW was hospitalised after suffering an electric shock when he came into contact with fallen powerlines near a sewerage treatment plant. The man was battling a grass fire when the incident occurred.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/crane-operator-hospitalised-electric-shock/#.VLAanSuUeJg

One of the biggest mistakes workers can make is assuming that power lines aren’t live because this is how most accidents involving power lines occur. If unsure, always assume power lines are energized.

Operators of cranes, front loaders, lorry-mounted cranes/loaders, excavators, tipping trailers, bale trailers and tipper trucks need to be most cautious because they are the ones most likely to be at risk from live overhead power lines.

Operators of vehicles that could possibly touch over-head power lines should have a properly planned route prior to operation. This route should be drawn up to avoid over-head power lines. This is an important aspect of site safety, considering how serious the risks are. The article on SafetyCulture.com went on to discuss more about electrical incidents in WA.

According to a 2010-11 Western Australia’s electrical incident safety report, from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2011, there were 9,977 reported electrical shocks in Western Australia. Approximately 52 per cent were recorded as occurring in regional and rural areas, with the Perth metropolitan area accounting for the balance. The reason for a greater number of shocks reported in regional and rural areas may be due to the presence of mining companies, which must comply with reporting requirements for electrical shocks.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/crane-operator-hospitalised-electric-shock/#.VLAanSuUeJg

Every employer needs to ensure that workers are properly educated about all the hazards on the worksite as well as safe working procedures. That includes ensuring all workers have received general construction induction training/The White Card as well as more specific site safety training.

Employers need to ensure that they are providing workers with a safe work environment and a safe system of work. This involves addressing the dangers work on the site may present.

A basic assessment process should go as follows:

  • Identify and locate the hazards associated with the work, such as overhead powerlines.
  • Assess the risks associated with work near them
  • Attempt to eliminate the hazards by altering the work process.
  • Minimise the risks by implementing the appropriate control measures
  • Ensure workers are trained on these control measures
  • Supervise workers to ensure that they are keeping a safe distance for power lines and are adhering to all other controls.


Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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