WARNING - Some viewers may find the following video distressing *
The potentially-fatal consequences of touching overhead power lines are being highlighted in Lincolnshire - following a number of accidents involving tractors and lorries.
A new campaign called ‘Look Out, Look Up’ has been launched to alert drivers of large vehicles to the dangers of being electrocuted to death. The campaign includes a new short film made by the Energy Network Association (ENA) - which highlights the serious hazard. Some viewers may find the video distressing.
In Lincolnshire there were 22 potentially life-threatening incidents reported to Western Power Distribution (WPD) in the last 12 months alone.
One incident at Sleaford saw a hay baler catch an overhead line, causing it to break and fall to the ground.
In another at Boston a tractor collided with and snapped a wooden pole supporting overhead power lines - causing the wires to drop below a safe height.
Over at Brant Broughton, engineers were called out to repair an overhead conductor after it was brought down by a large, passing vehicle. And in Ingoldmells, Skegness, a tipper lorry came into contact with, and brought down, an overhead conductor while unloading stone. Fortunately, no injuries were reported from any of these accidents.
On average, one person dies or is seriously injured each month in the UK as a result of contact with overhead power lines.
Data from the Health & Safety Executive shows that one in four of these cases (26%) will involve a lorry driver, making construction and road haulage workers at extreme risk of fatal injury in the workplace.
It also reveals that one farm worker will die each year in the UK as a result of contact with an overhead power line.
In the last five years, there were 1,140 near-miss incidents in the UK involving machinery and overhead power lines where serious injury or death was a possibility.
A spokesman for WPD said: “Exiting the vehicle is one of the most dangerous things you can do; it can put you at immediate risk of fatal injury.
“When a vehicle or piece of machinery touches an overhead power line, it acts as a conductor passing the high voltage electricity through it. If you were to then exit your vehicle, keeping contact with it while your feet also touch the ground this voltage would pass through you, certainly causing serious injury and, in most cases, death.”
To emphasise the dangers and help reduce the number of fatalities, the UK’s energy network operators under the Energy Network Association (ENA) have joined forces to launch the ‘Look Out Look Up!’ campaign.
As part of the campaign, the ENA has released the new, ‘thought-provoking’ film targeting those working in construction and road haulage.