AN ALARMING increase in crashes with power poles is putting people at risk of serious electric shock, with 55 accidents across WA in the last two weeks.
The accidents have occurred in almost every suburb across Perth.
Western Power issued the warning today after a tow truck driver was hospitalised on Wednesday following an accident.
“The driver made the potentially fatal error to assume that, because he didn’t see any damage to the pole, it was safe to do his job,” Western Power asset management manager Seán Mc Goldrick said.
“Fortunately he is alive today to remind everyone that it is Western Power’s job to make sure the area around the network is safe following an accident.”
The utility turned out for 55 power pole crashes in the past two weeks and last year attended more than 1160 across the State.
In 2016-2017, power crews attended incidents more than 1100 times to make safe fallen powerlines or exposed wires.
Mr Mc Goldrick said hazards or electrical emergencies were a priority, but the community needed to be aware of the potential safety risks following a vehicle accident.
“We understand people’s first instinct is to help, but when powerlines are coming down, the safest option is to stay away because you are potentially putting your own life at risk,” he said.
“We have a number of in-built safety mechanisms that activate when the network is damaged.
“If you see a damaged pole, you should always treat the area as a potential electrical hazard, and stay at least eight metres away.”
Although the number of poles and streetlights damaged rose slightly from last year, there has been a 30 per cent increase in accidents involving wood poles.
“It takes a lot of force to damage a wood pole and it usually alerts neighbours of the accident,” Mr Mc Goldrick said.
Anyone who sees an accident involving the network should ring triple zero for emergency services and then make the safe call to Western Power on 13 13 51 so we can secure the area.
Vehicles v power pole crashes have taken place in the following suburbs in the past two weeks: