Safety Controls When Crane Truck Contact With Power Lines
What happens if overhead or underground power is contacted?
- The machinery or vehicle will become ‘live’ at the same voltage as the power lines. The electricity will attempt to pass through the vehicle to the ground.
- Anything else in contact with the powerlines will also become ‘live’, such as fences and trees.
- A potentially dangerous electrical field will be created around anything in contact with the power. This field extends for approximately 8 meters around these items.
What should you do if contact is made with powerlines?
Try not to panic, and remain calm. An attempt should be made to break the contact by driving the vehicle a minimum of 8 meters away from the powerline. If it is not possible to break the contact:
- Stay in the vehicle until the power has been isolated and the powerlines removed. Don’t risk being electrocuted by attempting to leave the vehicle before the power is disconnected.
- Advise anyone near the incident site to stay a minimum of 8 meters away from the vehicle and anything else in contact with the powerlines.
- Contact Ausgrid immediately on 13 13 88 to switch off the power and call the emergency services (000) reporting wires down and a life-threatening situation.
- Treat all powerlines as if they are ’live.’
What if the person in the vehicle needs to be evacuated?
An emergency vehicle evacuation is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted as a last resort, such as if the vehicle is on fire.
Remember never to approach the vehicle to assist in an evacuation and treat all powerlines as if they are ‘live’.
- If escape from the vehicle is absolutely necessary, it’s critical that you jump clear, ensuring that you don’t have contact with the vehicle and ground at the same time.
- When you jump, ensure that you land with your feet together and, if required, take another one or two jumps with your feet still together, ensuring that you do not touch the vehicle, fall forward or backward or allow your feet to step apart.
- You must jump/shuffle with your feet together until you are at least 8 meters clear of the vehicle, power lines or anything else in contact with them. Avoid being in line with the side of the tires/rims, as they may explode.
- Once clear, do not return to the vehicle for any reason.
Machinery operators should practice this jump technique regularly.
Tires can explode during or after contact with powerlines
A massive electrical current will flow through the vehicle and its tires if a vehicle contacts overhead powerlines.
This can cause the tires to explode on contact or could cause the tires to start burning inside.
- This creates a buildup of gases and heat, which could cause the tire to explode later, even 24 hours after the incident.
- The resulting explosion could potentially injure persons in proximity to flying debris.
- The vehicle should be isolated at a safe distance for 24 hours to avoid injury.