19/12/2001

HSENI call for caution when working near power cables

The Health and Safety executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has renewed its call for strict controls to be put in place by contractors when working under live overhead power cables.

The latest call follows the tragic death of a young construction worker on the M1 motorway on December 15. The accident occurred during the removal of temporary vehicle crash barriers and involved an excavator and overhead power lines.

Mr Ken Logan, Head of the Construction Sector at HSENI, issued the following message to the construction industry: “The circumstances surrounding the accident are currently under investigation and HSENI cannot comment on this particular case. I can confirm however, that this is the second electrocution that has occurred in the last four weeks as a result of construction activities.

“It is essential that the construction industry reacts immediately and reviews current practices to ensure that this type of accident cannot be repeated. Work near overhead power lines must be pre-planned. Consult with the electricity supply company to arrange diversions, isolation or permit-to-work arrangements. Where work below live overhead lines cannot be avoided, very strict controls are essential. The use of tools or items of equipment that could reach the overhead lines or come close enough to cause flashover must be avoided. The electricity supply company will be able to advise on safe clearance distances.” (GB)

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