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Investigation underway into employee’s sudden death

Mobile crane
Mobile crane

Authorities are examining circumstances surrounding a work site fatality.

Investigators want to know exactly how a Hiab truck became energised and killed the operator.

First responders were called about 3:20pm on 5 August 2023 to Tauhinu Road, 25km northwest of downtown Auckland.

When police arrived officers found the heavy vehicle’s crane had contacted overhead powerlines carrying up to 220,000 volts, resulting in “sudden death”.

“Staff are … making enquiries around the circumstances, at this stage they are not suspicious,” a police spokesperson said according to New Zealand Media and Entertainment.

The road remained closed until a St John ambulance, rapid response unit and operations manager finished inspecting the scene.

WorkSafe could take up to a year to assess the incident, and no spokesperson would comment while investigations were underway.

QMEB understands the truck was parked on a steep angle and the operator lifted the work platform too high.

The following recommendations have been made:

  • maintain at least 4 metre clearance of overhead electric lines
  • hold toolbox talks to remind all staff of the hazards and correct procedures
  • ensure lift planning incorporates power lines as a hazard check for every lift
  • review internal safety procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and widely communicated/available to staff.

Click here to read the full safety alert.

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