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Farmer Lucky to Survive Tangle with Power Lines

Farmer Lucky to Survive Tangle with Power Lines

10 February 2014 – A Hawke’s Bay man is lucky to be alive, unaware his truck made contact with live lines while preparing to tip a load of soil on his rural property.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, heard a loud bang and saw a flash behind him. Thinking his rear tyre had blown, he saw a small grass fire in his rear vision mirror (caused by the arcing of the line), which he put out by dumping the soil. He jumped from his truck to check his tyre and, finding no problem, climbed back into the cab.

“It wasn’t until I went to move the truck that I realised I was tangled in the lines, and called 111.

“I didn’t even think I was anywhere near power lines - I certainly didn’t think they would be low enough to hit. And I also had no idea that power lines could re-energise. That is really important for us all to know. “I had no idea how dangerous the outcome could have been. I think us kiwi blokes aren’t the type to read safety flyers and the like - it’s really important we tell this story through word of mouth and exposure in the media, because it’s permanent. Once you’re fried you can’t tell others!”

Unison Faultman, Hadyn Reid said the man was extremely lucky to have survived the incident.

“By exiting his vehicle, he risked electrocution. If this incident had happened at another location, the outcome could have been fatal. He very likely would not have survived leaving his truck the first time, as the lines could still have been live.

“He was just very lucky the feeder blew out. With no recloser, the feeder didn’t re-liven the lines, but if it had, we would have been dealing with a fatality.”

The farmer was feeling very fortunate to have survived his entanglement, and will be a keen promoter of Unison’s ‘Look Up’ safety campaign going forward.

Today, he’s feeling pretty lucky to be alive.

“I kept thinking ’I must go buy a Lotto ticket, but I didn’t get a chance - hopefully my luck will hold for the next draw instead!”

Unison Health & Safety Manager, Wayne Withey said the incident highlighted the importance of Unison’s continued efforts to educate the public and contractors on the need to ‘look up, look down’ when working.

“It’s incredibly important to assess the environment for electrical hazards, because chances are, failing to do so could well cost you your life.

“Unison has safety advice on its website about what to do if your vehicle does touch powerlines, but our key piece of advice is to stay inside the vehicle and call for help.

“You can find the information at http://www.unison.co.nz/safety/fallenpowerlines.


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