Organisational Factors » LTA warning device

62Buried Electric Cable – Fatal Accident

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Brief Description of Incident/Accident & Description of Consequences/Outcomes:

While excavating to repair a leaking water main, a trades assistant was electrocuted when a crowbar he was using struck and penetrated a buried 415 volt cable. On discovering the accident, a supervisor received a minor electric shock from contact with the victim while attempting to provide assistance. The power source considered responsible was isolated and resuscitation efforts proved unsuccessful.

Energy Type(s) Involved:

Direct contact with live electrical conductors

Equipment Type(s):

Electrical conductor

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

LTA design

LTA guarding

LTA hazard identification

LTA inspection

LTA isolation

LTA protection

LTA safety warnings

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):


Preventative/Recommended/Accepted Steps of Risk Mitigation, Points of Interest:

To prevent this type of accident reoccurring, persons responsible are enjoined to consider adopting the following measures in addition to AS 3000 requirements when burying cables.

- Cables shall be of wire-armoured construction, or equivalent.

- Circuits shall be afforded earth-leakage protection.

- All cables shall be installed with orange danger tape.

- Cables shall be installed not less than, 750mm deep for high-voltage systems, 600mm deep for other wiring, and 100mm below mechanical services in the same trench.

- The location and direction of all cables shall be, accurately recorded on plans and clearly indicated by permanent route markers on the surface of the ground.

- Written ‘Excavation Permit’ procedures shall be established, practised, and provide for work authorisation, review of current plans, confirmation and inspection of the worksite, and issue of necessary precautions.

These matters will be further detailed in a ‘Safety Bulletin’ issue to be released, and be the subject of Regulatory Amendments.

Remember! When the cause of an accident is not obvious, always suspect electric shock and ensure your own safety. Casualties rely on your well-being and effective response.


Government of Western Australia, Department of Mines and Petroleum


Here are the results.


Reference Type:

Significant Incident Report #25

Mine Type:

Surface Mine






Australia, Western Australia

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