Powerline safety reminder after teen seriously injured

powerlines touching trees (united energy)
Image: Shutterstock

WA’s energy safety regulator is investigating an incident that took place in Gnangara this week in which a teen reportedly received an electric shock from high-voltage powerlines while clearing vegetation.

Building and Energy electrical inspectors attended the property where witness accounts indicated the teenager sustained serious hand and other injuries after his trimming equipment made contact with powerlines, causing the electric current to pass through his body.

Related article: SA Power Networks’ powerlines and farm safety campaign

The high-voltage powerlines carry 22,000 volts of electricity.

“This is an extremely distressing event that will no doubt have long-lasting impacts on this young man, his family and the people who were working alongside him,” WA director of Energy Safety Saj Abdoolakhan said.

“This incident is a reminder of the hazards of electricity and how life can change in an instant. My thoughts are with all those affected.”

Abdoolakhan urged property owners to engage suitably qualified arborists, rather than attempting to trim trees themselves near live electrical infrastructure.

“As well as the dangers of electric shock, arcing or fire, there are also fall risks,” he said.

“Branches, tools and other objects can conduct electricity, while overhead wires can still be dangerous even without direct contact.”

Related article: ‘Look up and Live’ promoting regional powerline safety

Building and Energy’s Guidelines for the management of vegetation near powerlines has more information on clearance zones and responsibilities for different power lines, properties and vegetation types. 

For vegetation workers, the Code of Practice for vegetation worker electrical safety is also available online along with a guide, training information and an online assessment.

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