What it's like to be hit by 12,000 volts of electricity

GRAPHIC IMAGES: The pair of boots Philip Pohlner was wearing when 12,000 volts of electricity charged through his body in a freak workplace accident are among his most treasured possessions.

With barely a hole to show for the shock that cost him a toe and several painful surgeries, the Withcott man is hesitant to throw out the boots that he credits with helping save his life.

Mr Pohlner, 58, had been erecting safety barriers on a partly-built house at Dalby on November 25 when the metal railing he held in his gloved hands connected with low-hanging powerlines.

"I'm definitely lucky to still be here," he said.

He remembers seeing a blue light flash in his peripheral vision when he threw the pole, but not before 12,000 volts charged through his body exiting out his stomach and right foot.

Greta Pohlner with her dad Philip Pohlner who survived a 12,000 volt electric shock.
Greta Pohlner with her dad Philip Pohlner who survived a 12,000 volt electric shock. Contributed

WARNING: Graphic images below

A small hole the size of a "pin prick" in his right boot and smouldering holes in his gloves were the only signs he had been struck.

"It's funny, on my left foot I must have lifted it off the framework when the power hit so that's why it (the electricity) came out of my stomach."

Mr Pohlner's right foot big toe was amputated in one of many surgeries he underwent it the five weeks he spent in the Royal Brisbane Hospital after being airlifted from Dalby.

He suffered full thickness burns to both hands and right foot requiring donor skin grafts, complete amputation of his right foot big toe, electric burn wounds to his stomach also needing skin grafts, a heart murmur and ongoing psychological trauma.

Tomorrow marks World Day for Safety, a United Nations sanctioned initiative that promotes safer working conditions and in all professions.

Mr Pohlner said the message could be lifesaving.

"Just make sure you wear the correct safety equipment and check the site to make sure of your surroundings," he said.

Shine Lawyers workplace accident law expert Nickelle Morris said onsite incidents "can result in life changing consequences" for workers and their families.

"They can affect every aspect of life and the ripples can be felt in an individual's health and wellbeing, in their relationships and in their ability to support themselves and their family," she said.

"It's shocking to observe how quickly things can change and the ongoing trauma that can be caused."
 



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