Regional distributed network operator Electricity North West has issued a warning after a lorry driver narrowly cheated death by electrocution.

Earlier this month engineers from the company attended a site in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, after a tipper lorry collided with the DNO’s overhead lines.

Live current from the 33,000-volt lines surged through the lorry, bursting three tyres. The power network was locally shorted.

Fortunately no injuries were sustained, and engineers worked quickly to make the network safe.

Despite the driver’s escape, the DNO’s asset 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 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 HGV tippers or tractors, “ Killilea stressed, “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.”

Investigating, ENW engineers found the overhead lines were fully compliant with safety and engineering standards.

Killilea 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.

Killilea said; “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

The Skelmersdale near-fatality follows a similar warning earlier this month. A man climbed onto an electricity substation roof with a pair of metal ladders to retrieve a cat.


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