Seven dangerous overhead powerline incidents lead to warning

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A recent spate of serious incidents has prompted WorkSafe and EnergySafety to remind and warn people about the risks and consequences of working near overhead powerlines.

This week, a crane operator at a building site in White Gum Valley swung his jib into an overhead 132kV powerline.

The crane operator remained safe in the cab however WorkSafe and EnergySafety are investigating the incident where many workers on the ground were at serious risk of electrical injury from large metal objects becoming ‘live with electricity’.

Other recent serious incidents:

1 September: Severe electrical injury resulted when a grain auger made contact with 132kV overhead powerline in Hope Valley.

5 August: A crane made contact with high and low voltage overhead powerlines in Balcatta.

1 July: Severe electrical injury occurred when a mobile work platform was elevated into a 22kV overhead powerline in Serpentine.

17 June: Electrical injury occurred when a fence railing was raised making contact with 22kV overhead powerline in Baldivis.

14 June: A contractor received an electrical shock when a street light pole was manoeuvred into contact with ana 132kV overhead powerline on the Australind bypass.

14 June:  A crane made contact with a 22kV powerline in Riverton.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said the severity of the incidents could have easily caused fatalities.

"Safe procedures must be applied whether at work or at home. People who should be especially mindful to use proper precautions include: property owners with trees; yacht sailors; crane, tip truck and mobile plant contractors; and farmers" Mr Bowron said.

WorkSafe Commissioner Lex McCulloch said he was disappointed with the recent incidents causing injury and risking lives.

"Working near overhead powerlines carries a serious risk to the health and safety of workers and others," he said.

"The overhead powerline risk is recognised and safety procedures well established. Ignoring or short cutting safe procedure is reckless and dangerous."

"WorkSafe will investigate workplace incidents to save lives and prosecute if it is necessary."

For more information about working safely around overhead powerlines please visit


(EnergySafety and WorkSafe are divisions of the Department of Commerce)

Media contact:

Janette Gerreyn 0403770564 – this alert only.
Caroline De Vaney 9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

Media release
13 Sep 2013

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