Two Queensland farm workers seriously injured in a high-voltage incident
The incident happened on a rural property in the Western Downs Region when the grain auger they were relocating struck overhead powerlines.
Both workers sustained serious burns from the incident and had to be airlifted to hospital. One of the workers had to be placed into an induced coma.
The safety authorities are still investigating how the plant came into contact with the high voltage powerlines.
Facts about overhead powerlines
All overhead powerlines are lethal and extreme care must be taken when working near or passing under them.
The movement of machinery and equipment such as irrigation pipes, grain augers, cherry pickers, cranes and excavators all have the potential to contact powerlines.
Fact 1. Powerlines can move due to wind and change height due to temperature
Fact 2. Powerlines often sag between poles – up to 4 meters
Fact 3. Powerlines can be difficult to see, even on a clear, sunny day
Fact 4. Electricity can ‘jump’ or arc across air gaps – this means that you don’t need to be in direct contact with lines to receive an electric shock.
Preventing incidents involving overhead powerlines
Stop and think about overhead powerlines on your property!
All employers must be familiar with the layout of the electrical system on their worksite / property and determine the height and reach of all machinery and plant used near powerlines.
You must know how far away you need to keep away from these powerlines and clearly map out safe transport routes and exclusion zones on or near your property.
Most importantly, you must ensure that all workers and contractors are trained and competent in safe systems of work and aware of the safe transport routes and exclusion zones on your property.
While it is difficult to completely eliminate the risks in a workplace, strong systems and processes, including a solid induction training program will have a large effect on the probability of an accident or incident happening.
A well-structured induction program is one of the most effective and efficient ways to bring new recruits up to speed on safe work methods. Employees learn the right way of doing things from the beginning, minimising the risk of costly mistakes, while increasing productivity.
Find out how you can Induct & Train your new workforce fast online here
** TANDI Online Employee Inductions includes industry specific safety training, inclusive of farming.