Lorry drivers make up over a quarter of fatalities from overhead power lines

Research reveals road haulage workers – particularly those making deliveries with tippers, lorry mounted cranes or grab arms – are some of the most at risk of fatal electric shocks from overhead power lines.

On average, one person dies or is injured each month as a result of contact with overhead power lines. Data from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) shows that one in four of these cases will involve a lorry driver, making road haulage workers at extreme risk of fatal injury in the workplace.

Overhead power lines have the capacity to carry voltages anywhere between 230 volts (domestic voltage) up to 400,000 volts. Even domestic voltage can be fatal and high voltage electricity can jump gaps – meaning you don’t have to be in direct physical contact with a conductor to experience a fatal electric shock.

How to stay safe working near overhead power lines

Risk assess – know where overhead power lines are and mark them on a map. Find out the height and reach of your equipment and how this compares to the maximum working height under overhead power lines. Share this information with workers and contractors.

Control measures – don’t work near an overhead power line if you don’t have to. Select suitable machinery and equipment and use it safely.

Know what’s safe, and what isn’t– certain work should be avoided within 10 metres of overhead power lines, such as for example operating Lorry mounted cranes (such as Hiabs or Palingers), Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP’s), tipper vehicles and cranes.

Keep your distance – when overhead power lines are damaged or fall to the ground, individuals should stay well away and contact their local network operator by telephoning 105.

Know what to do if you make contact – if your vehicle has come into contact with an overhead power line, stay in the cab and try to drive clear. If that is not possible, jump clear of the machine, move away and don’t touch it once on the ground.

Call 105 – if an incident occurs, contact your network operator by calling the national 24-hour emergency number 105

For further advice & guidance on this matter please contact us.