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What to do if you contact overhead power lines

If electrical arcing or flashover occurs, or if objects, plant, machinery or equipment make contact with overhead power lines, you must call the electricity supplier immediately. Until help is received, a competent person should remain in control of the situation to caution others of the danger of electrocution. You should assume that all power lines are live and are capable of delivering a fatal shock. Do not allow anyone to touch or approach any part of the plant or any fallen wires. Being too close can kill. The diagram below shows typical affected area surrounding mobile plant when in contact with live power lines.

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What the operator should do if mobile plant contacts overhead power lines...

  • stay inside the operator’s cabin or on the plant until the power has been switched off & the site made safe

  • warn others to keep clear and not touch any parts of the plant, rope or suspended load

  • where possible, try and operate the plant to break contact with the overhead power line. If you cannot break contact with overhead power line, then take no further action until it is confirmed that the conditions are safe.

If there is a fire or imminent threat of direct bodily contact with the overhead power line, you must leave the operator’s cabin or the plant (to avoid being electrocuted or injured) by:

  • jumping clear and as far away as possible from the plant

  • avoiding touching the plant and the ground at the same time

  • moving slowly away from the danger area by shuffling (like an old man) or hopping (like a kangaroo) with both feet together, avoiding simultaneous contact with areas of high potential difference

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