Safety Alert: Uninsulated boom contacts mains conductors
After an uninsulated boom lift 11m+ made contact with and caused a live Low Voltage (LV) cable to fall to the ground in July, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) issued a safety alert to the hire industry.
The safety alert was for hire companies to apply due diligence processes to ensure hirers are made aware of their electrical safety obligations when working near powerlines.
During the incident, damage was also sustained to the boom lift.
Initial investigations identified:
- The boom lift was hired by a home owner to clear the gutters and down pipe on his property;
- The operator was not licenced for the piece of high risk mobile plant;
- The operator was not aware of the requirements of the ‘No Go Zone’ rules when working near powerlines;
- No electrical spotter was used to manage the distance between the boom and the powerlines; and
- Both the operator of the boom lift and the person assisting on the ground were lucky not to be injured or killed.
ESV reminded hire organisations to ensure hirers are provided appropriate information to allow them to plan and undertake the work safely.
As best practice ESV requested hire companies consider the use of a checklist that ensures:
- Only licenced operators will be utilised when operating plant that requires a specific licence;
- Information has been provided to manage electrical powerline hazards in accordance with the ‘No Go Zone’ rules.
ESV recommended hire companies develop a list of questions to ask prior to hire contracts such as:
- Do you have a licence or a licenced person to operate this equipment? (for high risk plant items)
- Are their powerlines near where the plant will be operated?
- Are you aware of the ‘No Go Zone’ rules?
- Are you aware of the controls that need to be used when the working envelope of the mobile plant is closer than 6.4m to overhead powerlines?