New Zealand - Hawke's Bay orchard worker electrocuted after coming into contact with 33kV overhead line
Unconfirmed reports from a nearby resident suggest it involved an EWP that backed into HV lines and there was no spotter. Condolences to the family.
A person who died in a workplace incident near Napier came into contact with a 33kV overhead electricity supply line on an orchard.
The incident was reported just after 16:00 on Thursday at a property off Brookfields Rd, Meeanee, but it did not happen at Brookfields Winery.
Electricity supplier Unison confirmed through relationships manager Danny Gough the deceased was not a Unison staff member, and Hawke's Bay Today has been told it was an orchard worker.
Police have finished their initial involvement with the incident which is being investigated by national government health and safety agency WorkSafe and has also been referred to a coroner.
Police will conduct further inquiries if requested by the coroner, and neither police nor WorkSafe were releasing any further information on Friday.
Police were however expecting to release the name of the deceased once it was confirmed next of kin had been advised.
The WorkSafe investigation will include how the worker came into contact with the line, which Gough said is known as the Awatoto tie. It extends from the eastern end of Brookfields Rd to a substation on Waitangi Rd, Awatoto.
Stressing Unison's condolences and sympathies for family of the deceased, Gough said the company would provide all relevant information to the investigations.
The company sent crews to the site immediately after being advised of the incident and "de-energised" supply in the area, which had momentary disruption to about 600 customers, and longer disruption for a small number in the immediate area.
Brookfields Rd is a route of mainly horticultural and lifestyle blocks, extending from Pakowhai Rd to the intersection with Awatoto, Sandy and Meeanee roads at Meeanee, near Napier. Several orchards in the area currently have signage warning of spraying in progress.
Currently 46 workplace fatalities nationwide this year are under WorkSafe investigation, of which 16 were in January and February — about a third up on the average of 6.1 a month since 2016. There were 63 last year and 76 in 2017.