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Machinery operators urged to look up after series of close calls

Thursday 20 January 2022 at 1:39 pm
Victorians operating heavy machinery are urged to be aware of overhead powerlines following a series of close calls across metropolitan Melbourne. Energy Safe Victoria (ESV), the state’s independent energy safety regulator, is reminding machinery operators to be aware of overhead powerlines while ensuring they follow all safety precautions. The warning follows a series of incidents involving operators narrowly avoiding injury over the past week. On Wednesday, 12 January, a five-tonne excavator brought down low voltage overhead service cables in a suburban Glen Waverley street. While no one was injured, the risk to people and property could have been avoided if the experienced excavator operator had looked up and assessed their surroundings before starting work. On Monday, 17 January, a tip truck operator also avoided serious injury after their vehicle hit high voltage lines in Rockbank. The driver, who had more than 25 years’ experience, was working without an electrical spotter. Spotters support heavy machinery operators to work safely around powerlines. On Thursday, 19 January, a concrete pumper contacted high voltage lines in Springvale. The operator escaped injury and had not properly assessed his surroundings beforehand. This message is particularly important to those with little-to-no experience operating machinery near powerlines who may have hired the equipment to do some work around their property. ESV advises all operators to ensure they receive appropriate training or instruction on how to use the equipment competently and to identify, assess and control any risks before they start work. For more than a decade, ESV has promoted this message through its Look Up and Live campaign, calling on workers and operators of such machinery to be aware of powerlines and plan how to safely undertake their work before they begin. In April and May last year, ESV recorded four serious incidents in three weeks where workers were hospitalised after the heavy machinery they were operating made contact with overhead powerlines. Details: esv.vic.gov.au/campaigns/look-up-and-live  

ESV Commissioner and Chairperson Marnie Williams

“Unfortunately, both experienced and inexperienced heavy machinery operators can fail to take note of overhead powerlines.” “Fortunately, no one was injured over the past week, however not everyone has been as lucky in previous incidents where people have been seriously injured.” “When working with heavy machinery near powerlines, please use spotters, be aware of hazards and always ensure you’ve received the appropriate training.”   Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194 | adrian.bernecich@energysafe.vic.gov.au   To download this media release as a PDF please click here.(opens in a new window)