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Exclusion zones - working safely near powerlines

Working near powerlines can be fatal. Touching them or straying into the exclusion zone around them can result in a serious electric shock.

If you must work near powerlines, you should follow these steps:

  1. Develop a safe system of work before you start
    • Develop a safe system that ensures a safe distance from powerlines is maintained (stay outside the exclusion zone)
    • Identify overhead and underground powerlines by consulting maps and/or talking to the property owner and electrical entity. For Ergon Energy and Energex visit lookupandlive.com.au for your free powerline safety plan.
    • Conduct a site specific risk assessment – think about:
      • the type of plant and equipment/tools used
      • site and weather conditions
      • type of work being done
      • set-up and pack-up procedures.
    • Put risk controls in place – the most effective way of controlling the risk is to de-energise the line for the duration of work where there is a risk of contact.
  2. Keep your workers and contractors informed about electrical safety
    • Induct and train your workers and contractors in safe work procedures, emergency procedures, and exclusion zones (Figure 1).
    • Carefully plan the tasks to be completed near powerlines and work away from them whenever possible, not underneath them.
    • Show your workers the safe distance from a powerline by marking it on the ground.
    • Ensure people are aware that powerlines sag or sway in hot or windy weather (Figure 2).
  3. Avoid going into exclusion zones
    • Make powerlines and poles visible. Ask your electrical entity for permission to paint power poles and/or have them install markers or flags on the powerlines.
    • Plan your work so tree branches do not fall across powerlines.
    • Where possible, use insulated or non-conductive tools and equipment.
    • Operators should use a safety observer carrying out work near powerlines.
    • Follow the safety advice you obtain from your electrical entity.
Powerline towersPowerlines - Sag and Sway
Figure 1: Powerline exclusion zones Figure 2: Powerlines sag or sway in hot or windy weather

Industry specific guides for working near powerlines

More information

Last updated
14 February 2020

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