‘Take another look’ when working near the electricity

Western Power is asking those who work around electricity to “take another look” to keep themselves safe after a sharp increase in the number of avoidable third party incidents on the network.

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.

Mr 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.

Mr Mc Goldrick said the safety message isn’t just for tradies, but also homeowners, who are increasingly making contact with live powerless.

As part of the campaign, which launches April 1, Western Power will work closely with WorkSafe and EnergySafety to increase the awareness of the potential dangers for people who work around powerlines.

Mr Mc Goldrick said Western Power hoped that by increasing the awareness of how important it was to be vigilant about safety when working around powerlines and cables that the number of accidents could be dramatically reduced.

“Western Power’s website has a lot of information on safe work standards and we hold free seminars to educate businesses and homeowners on the issue, so we encourage everyone to take some time to understand how to work safely around our network,” he said.