Two fatalities after metal windmill hits powerline

Wednesday, 17 March, 2010

A father and son died while moving a 7.5 m high metal windmill, which came into contact with a 12,500 V power line on a farm north-west of Horsham, in western Victoria.

Three further people were taken to hospital with injuries - another father and son, who suffered burns; and the property owner, who sustained an electric shock.

The incident occurred while a 7.5 m high metal windmill was being moved using a tractor with a forklift attachment on it. Four WorkSafe inspectors attended the scene on the day of the incident.

Since 2000, eight workplace fatalities in Victoria have been caused by vehicles or equipment coming into contact with overhead powerlines. The most recent incident was last November when a man died in Dandenong after a hydraulic tipping trailer struck an overhead line.

WorkSafe Victoria’s Acting Executive Director for Health and Safety, Stan Krpan, said: “This is a tragic reminder that people working near overhead lines need to be aware of the proximity of their vehicle or equipment to the lines - especially if working on a property they’re not familiar with.

“There have been a number of similar incidents in recent years involving equipment or vehicles hitting powerlines, mostly in rural areas. People have to be vigilant and aware of where overhead powerlines are.”

This incident takes the number of work-related deaths this month to four and 10 for the year. All but three have been in regional Victoria, which is over-represented in Victoria's work-related death toll.

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