25 Apr 2024


Lorry driver ’lucky to be alive’ after collision with 33,000-volt power lines

Punctured vehicle tyre

An urgent safety message has been issued by the North West’s power network operator following a serious incident which took place in Lancashire.

Earlier this month, Electricity North West engineers were called to a site in Skelmersdale after a tipper lorry collided with its overhead lines.

As well as impacting the power network, the current from the 33,000-volt lines travelled through the vehicle bursting three tyres. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained, and engineers attended quickly to make the network safe.

Despite the lucky escape, Electricity North West’s asset and investment director Paul Killilea says it could have been very different.

“This was an incredibly serious incident, and I can’t stress enough how fortunate the driver was to walk away unharmed,” he said.

“Luckily, we’re only dealing with three burst tyres and a power cut, but this could have been far worse. The driver is lucky to be alive.

“This should be a warning to everyone who drives large vehicles, whether that be HGV tippers or tractors, to look out and look up. You must be aware of your surroundings and by being aware and switched on, these sorts of incidents can be avoided.”

After the incident, Electricity North West engineers investigated the overhead lines and found they were fully compliant with safety and engineering standards.

Following this incident the network operator has reiterated its safety advice for everyone, to look out look up and stay away from the electricity network.

Paul added: “I urge people to take note of our yellow ‘danger of death’ signs on our electricity poles, pylons, and substations. Keep an eye on your surroundings and stay clear of the power network.”

Parents and guardians are also asked to warn their youngsters of the dangers, including not to use items or equipment such as kites or long tent poles near overhead lines as electricity can jump from the lines and travel down directly to the person holding them, causing serious injury or even worse. Anglers are asked to look out for overhead lines when casting and if people lose a ball or Frisbee in a substation, they are urged not to retrieve it.

Anybody who sees anything dangerous in or around the power network can call Electricity North West on 105. For more safety advice, including a safety game for kids, go to www.enwl.co.uk/safety.

This incident follows a similar warning earlier this month after a man climbed onto an electricity substation roof with a pair of metal ladders to retrieve a cat.