Safety No. 11
Committed to Alert June 98
Danger of Works Underneath
Overhead Power Lines
During a recent management site visit at the Mina Al Fahal tank farm, the following near miss was
“Dumping of material from rockbreaking for tank 110 had been ongoing underneath live 33 kV
overhead power cables without the minimum clearance required, putting at risk personnel and
Last month, a High Potential Incident occurred in Marmul when a beam pump being transported on a flat-
bed truck came in contact with a 33 kV overhead line, tripping C, A and Gathering stations.
Causes of the incident
An investigation of the coastal near miss incident is presently in progress, but it would appear that the cause
is non compliance with the approved clearance certificate procedure for work in the vicinity or passage
under overhead lines. This is described in the HSE Standards Manual, Chapter 11.
The underlying cause is believed to be that insufficient attention was given to the risks related to the dump
yard activities while supervision focused on the rock cutting site.
Learning Points and Action to Prevent Recurrence
From the above near miss incident, the following learning points have been identified which need urgent
- The PDO Responsible Supervisor for the work (and NOT the Contractor) shall obtain a
clearance certificate from the local PDO Asset Team. The requirement for a PDO clearance
certificate remains the same, irrespective of whether the lines belong to a third party (eg MEW).
- Where possible, overhead power lines should be made DEAD when work is to be carried out
beneath them. If it is not practicable, then strict precautions shall be enforced whilst work is in
progress. The safety precautions shall be closely supervised by the Area Operations Electrical
representative who shall ensure that a minimum vertical safety clearance of 3.5 meters is
maintained at all times.
- Prior to starting any work, a full risk assessment of the activities is required in order to
confirm that hazards identified in the HSE work plan are correct. Reference to the HSE
Standards Manual content has to be made.
- The PDO Responsible Supervisor shall pay regular visits at site to get opportunities to identify