The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a Close Call Alert after a gravel truck came into contact with an overhead wire. A tractor trailer was dumping a load of gravel at a surface sand mine when it came into contact with the overhead wire. The overhead wire then pulled and snapped a ground wire on an adjacent power pole, causing the energized 13,800-volt wires to arc and trip the power.
The incident occurred because 10 feet of clearance was not maintained between the equipment and the power lines. Luckily, no one was injured during the incident, but electrocution was a possibility.
MSHA offers the following Best Practices to help prevent this type of accident:
- Ensure that high-voltage power lines are de-energized before operating equipment within 10 feet of them.
- Be aware of the location of overhead power lines and avoid the risk of electrocution by choosing a route for your equipment that avoids potential contact.
- Contact your local power company if an incident occurs.
- Remember that some equipment may have a higher profile during transport.
- If you are in a tractor and come in contact with power lines, remain in the tractor and have someone contact the power company to shut off the power. If you are in a tractor that contacts power lines and you must exit because of an emergency such as a fire, jump out and away from the tractor as far as possible. Never allow any part of your body to touch both the equipment and the ground at the same time.