MSHA has issued close-call alert concerning overhead power lines.
A tractor trailer operating in a surface sand mine contacted an overhead ground wire after dumping a load of gravel.
The contacted wire in turn pulled and snapped a ground wire on an adjacent power pole. The second wire caused the energized 13,800 volt wires to arc and trip the power.
The incident occurred because ten feet of clearance was not maintained between the equipment and the power lines.
No injuries resulted from this accident however the possibility of an electrocution could have been an outcome.
MSHA has the following advice to help prevent such accidents:
- Ensure that high-voltage power lines are de-energized before operating equipment within 10 feet of them
- Be aware of the location of overhead power lines and avoid the risk of electrocution by choosing a route for your equipment that avoids potential contact
- Contact your local power company if an incident occurs
- Remember that some equipment may have a higher profile during transport
- If you are in a tractor and come in contact with power lines, remain in the tractor and have someone contact the power company to shut off the power.
- If you are in a tractor that contacts power lines and you must exit because of an emergency such as a fire, jump out and away from the tractor as far as possible. Never allow any part of your body to touch both the equipment and the ground at the same time.