Company fined $35k after excavator makes contact with powerlines

A Victorian quarry has been convicted and fined $35,000 after a worker’s excavator made contact with two high voltage powerlines.

According to Work Safe Victoria, the company responsible plead guilty to failing to ensure that the workplace and means of entering and leaving it were safe.

The incident occurred in late 2018, when the working operating the excavator was blinded by sunlight as he was driving with the boom up.

The excavator made contact with the powerlines which caused them to fall to the ground. Power was cut and no one was injured.

WorkSafe inspectors discovered a lack of protective barriers and warning signage to prevent vehicle contact with overhead powerlines.

Following the incident, the company installed barriers and warning signs to notify site personnel of the potential hazards. Height restriction structures were later added at the powerlines to prevent similar incidents.

Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director of Health and Safety stated that employers must ensure that worker’s lives are not put at risk when working near powerlines.

“This could have easily ended in tragedy. Powerlines are not always easy to see and it’s up to employers to do everything they can to reduce the risks they pose” Ms Nielsen said.

“If there had been adequate height restriction structures and warning signage in place then this frightening incident could have been avoided.”

For more information visit WorkSafe Victoria.

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