On Friday, February 26th, a worker was fatally injured when a super snorkel that was being moved on a lowbed came into contact with a power line. The worker was electrocuted when he approached and touched the lowbed, which provided the electricity a path to ground. The incident occurred near Port McNeill.
Our condolences go out to the family and co-workers of the deceased worker.
WorkSafeBC and the Coroners Service are investigating this incident and the results will be released as soon as possible.
Although the details of this incident are still unknown, review the following general safety information:
Safe Limits of Approach: Electricity can arc or “jump” from the wire to a conducting object like a piece of equipment or a truck. A good general rule is to keep at least 3 meters distance between your machine and overhead distribution power lines and 6 meters for high voltage transmission lines at all times.
Measure the height and reach of any equipment working near powerlines. Position the equipment and plan any moves so the safe limits of approach are maintained.
Consult the local power company if the safe limits of approach distances cannot be maintained. When moving large pieces of equipment, consult reference material like WorkSafeBC’s Grapple Yarder & Supersnorkel Handbook and use spotters as necessary.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation – Part 19 Electrical Safety has more detailed information on limits of approach and should be consulted prior to working around electricity.
If contact is made with a powerline or a powerline is on the ground, stay back at least 10 meters and contact the appropriate emergency organizations listed in your ERP. This likely will include local Emergency Services and the power company. Do not allow anyone to go within the 10 m area, until it is confirmed by the power company that the power has been turned off to the line.
If you are in a vehicle or piece of equipment that has made contact with a powerline, if possible drive at least 10 meters away to move out of the hazard area. If your vehicle is damaged or stuck, it is safest to stay inside. If you must exit the vehicle or machine due to an immediate threat like a fire, follow these steps:
Emergency responders and other workers helping with incidents must remember to do an adequate scene assessment. Pause and ask yourself “What happened here?” and “What is going to hurt me?” before jumping in to help.