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Keep workers and equipment safely away from powerlines

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Two new electrical safety on the spot fines were introduced on 30 June to make sure employers put measures into place to keep workers safe while working around powerlines, following nine serious electrical incidents in the past 12 months.

The State Penalties and Enforcement Regulation 2014 was amended to introduce two new infringement notices for breaches of the requirements under the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 for working near overhead or underground powerlines.

Head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Dr Simon Blackwood said four people lost their lives in 2016 while working around powerlines, while others suffered significant electric shocks and electrical burns – sadly all of those incidents were preventable.

“Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace wrote an open letter to all Queensland employers in October, 2016 reminding them of the important ‘look up and live’ message and sought their urgent assistance in raising awareness about safe exclusion zones,” Dr Blackwood said.

“Our current data shows that tree loppers, billboard and signage installers, construction workers and those working on the land are most at risk.”

Dr Blackwood also said that workplace health and safety inspectors would now be able to issue on-the spot fines of up to $3000 to businesses who fail to identify the risks and implement appropriate controls.  

The Office of Industrial Relations will use these new on the spot fines along with other options, such as awareness raising and prosecution, to help ensure the safety of workers around overhead or underground electric lines.

The Electrical Safety Office has worked cooperatively with Energy Queensland to produce industry specific guidance materials.  These guides practically assist employers in developing safe systems of work, educating their workers and contractors, and importantly keeping workers and any equipment they are using outside the exclusion zone.

For more information visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or call 1300 362 128.

Ends.

Media contact: 0478 332 200 or oirmedia@justice.qld.gov.au

Last updated
24 July 2017