Western Power is urging electricity workers “take another look” after a sharp increase in the number of avoidable third party incidents on the network.
Western Power asset management executive manager Seán Mc Goldrick said the number of third parties making accidental contact with the Western Power network had nearly doubled in the past year, rising from 89 incidents in 2014 to 170 incidents last year.
Mc Goldrick said the leading causes of contact with live powerlines, either overhead or underground, were activities involving vehicles, excavation and overhead crane operation.
“Already in February this year, there have been 30 incidents, which equates to more than an incident a day, and in all of these cases the people involved walked away unscathed but the reality is the end result could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Of the 170 incidents in the 2015, 27 involved the underground network, 122 involved the overhead network and 21 involved a tree cutting activity.
“It’s easy to become complacent when working on the same site day after day, which our research tells us is a major contributor to network contacts,” Mr Mc Goldrick said.
“The vast majority of these accidents could have been avoided if people would just ‘Take Another Look’, so we are asking before you start work, take another look – don’t risk it, put safety first when working around the network.
“This message isn’t just for tradies either as there has also been an increase in the number of homeowners who have made contact with live powerlines, so we are also asking those people to be careful during weekend gardening or do-it-yourself efforts.”
As part of the campaign, which launches today, Western Power will work closely with WorkSafe and EnergySafety to increase the awareness of the potential dangers for people who work around powerlines.