Alarming rise in electrical incidents

The number of electrical related incidents in the building and construction industries jumped almost 50 per cent in 2015, prompting industry to push safety campaigns.

Queensland energy distributor Ergon Energy has urging workers to ‘Look Up and Live’, with senior community health and safety advisor Glen Cook saying the statistics are concerning.

“Workers are often on roofs with long lengths of roofing materials such as guttering or flashing that have potential to contact nearby powerlines, resulting in electric shock causing severe injuries or worse, electrocution,” he said.

“Cranes unloading supplies at building sites could also come into contact with powerlines if proper safety procedures are not followed.”

As the statistics rise, Mr Cook said the traditional agricultural industry safety message also applies to the building and construction industries.

“In 2014, there were 27 reported incidents involving contact with powerlines rising to 41 in 2015 and eight so far this year, with six in March alone,“ he said.

Some of these could have been avoided, Mr Cook said, through simple safety precautions including using trained safety observers (spotters).

Mr Cook said Ergon’s network across regional Queensland consists of around 160,000km of powerlines and 1 million power poles, and inadvertent contact with powerlines, poles and stay wires is a major risk.

“That’s why Look up and Liveis our primary safety message and awareness campaign for overhead powerlines – not just for the agricultural industry but other industries too,” he said.