Ten killed by touching power lines

Published Friday, 24 August 2012
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A safety campaign has been launched after ten people lost their lives due to touching overhead power lines.

Ten killed by touching power lines
59 electrocutions were recorded between 1982 and 2003. (© UTV)

DIY enthusiasts, farmers and contractors need to be aware of the dangers, Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said.

The company has launched a safety campaign promoting awareness of the dangers of felling trees and cutting hedges close to the electricity network.

It follows a recent spate of incidents where overhead electricity lines were damaged when vegetation was cut.

NIE health and safety manager Kevin McDowell said: "These fatalities should act as a grim warning to every DIY enthusiast, farmer or contractor who fails to take note of the proximity of the electricity network to their work area.

"It is time for everyone working near electricity equipment to put safety first, every time.

"Our message is clear - look up, look out and stay away from overhead lines."

Since 2001, ten people have died because they made contact with the overhead network, NIE said.

Mr McDowell added: "We know this is a busy time of the year for farmers and agricultural contractors but carrying out a basic risk assessment before starting work could mean the difference between life and death.

"With careful planning every incident of damage can be avoided."

59 electrocutions were recorded by the Ulster Medical Society between 1982 and 2003.

There was a clear skew towards young and middle-aged men, with deaths occurring most frequently during summer.

Almost 60% of people were carrying out work-related tasks when accidentally electrocuted.

High and low voltage deaths happened with similar frequency but electrical appliances were responsible for approximately a third of accidental electrocutions.

In September 2009 six-year-old Tia Nagurski, from Londonderry, died after being electrocuted outside her home.

She had climbed to the top of a tree and grasped an electric cable.

The inquest heard the shock from the 11,000 volt overhead cable fatally disturbed her heart rhythm.

Martin McKay, 31 and from Drumquin, was working on a road project in County Fermanagh in February 2006 when he was electrocuted.

He died when he touched the side of a lorry as it came into contact with overhead electricity cables.

© UTV News
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