Stay safe by staying clear of overhead electricity wires

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Michael Murray, ESB Networks Public Safety Manager, is reminding all HGV operators to make sure they take care by staying clear of electricity wires and poles.

ESB Networks Public Safety Officer Michael Murray

Electricity is a powerful force that has the potential to cause life changing injuries or fatalities if not given the respect it deserves. Only recently a truck driver made contact or close contact with our 20kV Overhead wires while using a Hiab Jib and received a shock and burns. Most accidents occur because of failure to notice the overhead wires and to take sensible precautions. Please take time to read and apply the good safety practices below so we can all make sure we get home safe to our families at the end of every day.

  • Staying Clear and putting a safe distance between you and electricity wires is the best way to stay safe, as electricity can jump gaps.
  • Identify where overhead wires, poles and stays are located. Keep a watchful eye on sites or on public roadways, especially if moving high loads.
  • Accidents are preventable with good planning. Avoid crossing underneath or near overheard electricity wires and only do so when you are sure you have at least 3m between your highest point and the wires. Work parallel to the wires when possible but always keep to the 3m rule.
  • Never stack or store materials or equipment underneath overhead electricity wires. This could put you in danger when using loaders or could be used as a climbing aid by a child or unsuspecting person putting them at risk of electrocution.
  • There is a very real danger of electrocution if a vehicle strikes the pole or the stay, leading to a pole-break and live wires coming to the ground or landing on the vehicle. Stay wires keep the overhead wires from sagging and if damaged, the wires can be lower than they should be which is a danger for everyone in the area.
  • Always treat fallen wires as live. Never try to lift electricity wires – if they are low, contact ESB Networks immediately.

Report any damage immediately to ESB Networks at 1800 372 999.

What to do if the worst happens?

If a Vehicle or its attachments come into contact with overhead wires it could be fatal. Take these steps to Stay Safe:

  1. Keep everyone clear of the vehicle, at least 10 metres – The driver of a vehicle that comes into contact with overhead lines will usually remain safe in the cab of the vehicle. Other people are at risk if they make simultaneous contact with the vehicle, its attachments, and the ground.
  2. Call ESB Networks on 1800 372 999 Immediately You, or someone else, should contact ESB Networks’ emergency number and pass on GPS coordinates or an Eircode for location if available.
  3. Jump Clear – If you must leave the cab, jump well clear and do not make contact with any part as you exit. Land on your feet and take small ‘baby’ steps until you are 10m clear.
  4. Stay Clear -Do not go back to the vehicle. Nobody should approach the vehicle until ESB Networks has confirmed that it is safe to do so.

Further information is available on our website:

Staying Safe (esbnetworks.ie)

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