On the footy field Aaron Sandilands’ eyes are fixed on the ball, but when the Dockers big man is on the field at his landscaping business his focus is always safety first.
One of the tallest players in history to pull on the boots, Sandilands has joined forces with Western Power’s 360 Aware campaign to spread the message of safety for tradies who work near or around the power network.
During a recent interview on Channel 9’s WA Footy TV, Sandilands admitted most people only think about what they can see as potential risk factors before they start work. As more of the network goes underground the 360 Aware message becomes even more important.
“I’d never use a spade or excavation equipment on a landscaping job without knowing exactly what lies beneath the soil around me. It would be like trying to ruck blindfolded,” Sandilands said.
“Before we start, we need to know where all the services lines are in the work area with a free ‘Dial Before You Dig’ enquiry. Hitting a single cable or pipe can leave an entire community without essential services and may result in injury or death.”
Having lost a toe as a child while using machinery around the family home Sandilands was happy to join Western Power and other current and former AFL players to champion the safety message for tradies and homeowners.
“It has been a pretty natural application to my work life because I always make sure I’m aware of where my teammates are on the footy field, so it’s just natural to apply that awareness to every job site.
“I just wish I could get a ‘dial before you play plan’ for my opposition this weekend. It would make my life a little easier,” the 211cm giant quipped.
“But on a serious note, knowing what is going on up, down and all around you on the field means you have a good game. Using that ‘Look 360’ attitude on the work site means you and your workmates go home safe at the end of the day.”
Paul Farina from Western Power said dangerous situations arise when people don’t respect their work surroundings.
“Excavating can be dangerous if you don’t know what’s below the surface. It’s important to know the exact location of all underground services including electricity,” Mr Farina said.
“Last year, Western Power responded to more than 300 accidents involving people working around the electricity network. The majority of people escaped with only minor injuries and the inconvenience of causing a power outage.
“The biggest frustration is that most of these could have been avoided with a Dial Before You Dig plan, and having a look around the worksite each morning to know what should be avoided.”
To lodge a free Dial Before You Dig enquiry call 1100 or go to the website at www.1100.com.au. For more safety tips and information on power interruptions, visit us at www.westernpower.com.au, follow us on Twitter @westernpowerwa and Facebook on Western Power WA.