District 5 - Coal Mine Safety and Health
A Near Miss
On Tuesday, April 16, 2002, at approximately 11:08 a. m., a 37 year-old truck driver was involved in a potentially life threatening accident when the metallic frame of the tarping device of his coal truck came in contact with a 69,000 volt powerline. The high-voltage powerline crosses the mine entrance road of a coal load-out facility. After his truck was loaded, the truck driver began to exit the load-out facility and tarp the truck bed at the same time. A switch located in the cab of the truck actuates the hydraulically operated tarping device. When the truck passed under the high-voltage powerline, the tarp was not in its down position and contacted the powerline. Six of the truck's tires were destroyed due to the electrical current. The truck driver remained in the cab of the truck and did not experience an electrical shock. He received only a minor injury.
- Look for any low clearance powerlines and heed any posted safety signs before raising a tarp or bed.
- Do not move the vehicle while operating the tarping device.
- If your vehicle contacts a powerline, lower the tarp or bed (only from inside the cab) to break contact with the powerline, if possible.
- If your vehicle contacts a powerline, stay in the vehicle, until it can be verified that the power is de-energized. Even when it appears that power is off, a utility company power line circuit will normally energize three times to clear a fault. Electrocution could occur when exiting the vehicle.
- If your vehicle contacts a powerline, do not allow anyone to come in the vicinity of the vehicle. Electrocution could occur within close proximity to the vehicle without even touching it.