04:38 pm, Thursday 11 November, 2010
A worker has received an electric shock in Northern Melbourne when he came into contact with an overhead powerline on Tuesday.
22,000 volts coursed through his body before a colleague was able to save him by kicking him free.
The two were working at height while taking down an advertising across the entrance road of a shopping centre when the incident took place.
Ambulance Victoria said the injured worker, who is believed to be 28-years-old, sustained burns to his arm, chest, abdomen and pelvis.
“The man was moving a metal rod at the top of the sign when it came into contact with a high-voltage power line,” said paramedic Andrew Best.
“He was unable to remove himself from the power cable and his colleague kicked the metal rod, effectively breaking the circuit to the man.”
Paramedics said the workmate’s act likely saved the injured man’s life and praised him for his quick thinking.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene within two minutes and saw the worker dangling on the 10-metre-high sign. They climbed up, applied soothing gel on the man’s burns, gave him medication for the pain.
They put on a neck brace on the worker and slid him down on a spine board with the help of a fire truck’s hydraulic platform.
He was taken to Alfred hospital, where he was reported to be in a serious but stable condition.
A WorkSafe investigation is underway.
According to a WorkSafe spokesman, the man was lucky to survive such a high-voltage shock since they are often fatal.
“The difference between a fatality and serious injury in these cases is really negligible,” he said.
“He is exceptionally lucky so far.”