Warning of rise in vehicle strikes on powerlines

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Ergon Energy urges transport companies and their drivers to be aware of cables and wires risk

Warning of rise in vehicle strikes on powerlines
Ergon Energy is concerned at rise in powerline incidents


Transport operators are urged to look out for powerlines as the number of electrical incidents continues to rise in Queensland.

Power supplier Ergon Energy is calling on drivers to look up as 281 electrical incidents were recorded in the 2011-12 financial year, of which 66 were caused by trucks.

It says the number is up by 20 per cent from the year before but this could have been prevented if drivers checked their load.

Those transporting high loads, machinery and livestock are most at risk of running into cables and wires and represent the highest proportion of electrical incidents.

Drivers are urged to check their surroundings before raising tippers and cranes, ensuring their load height does not exceed 4.6 metres.

Those transporting high loads should inform Ergon energy about their proposed route.

Drivers are urged to stay within their vehicle if it comes in contact with electricity and for others keep away at least eight metres.

It is common for tyres to explode after coming in contact with powerlines.

The company has an electricity network that consists of 150,000km of powerlines and 1,000,000 power poles.

More than 73,000 of its customers were affected by power disruption caused by incidents two years ago.

"There is evidence to suggest that near misses within this (transport) industry sector remain significantly higher than the number of incidents reported," Ergon Energy says.

"In most cases this occurs where control measures are not sufficient and safety observers are not in place.

"It is also believed that many operators within this industry lack a knowledge or understanding of laws about exclusion zones around powerlines."

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