Working near underground cables less than 33kV

Find out what to do before your work commences when working near underground electric cables less than 33kV.

What to do before work commences

Important information about risks

A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that no person, plant or thing at the workplace comes within an unsafe distance of an underground electric cable. This includes ensuring that all risks are assessed by your designer or constructor.

Work near energised electrical assets is considered high risk. Specific activities that can increase the risk include but are not limited to:

  • entry into the cable backfill below the protective cover strips, bricks or equivalent (typically installed approximately 100mm above cables)
  • removal of flowable fill backfill
  • excavation beneath the underground cable.

If your proposed work includes any of the above activities, we recommend that an accredited underground civil service provider (PDF) is engaged to carry out work and/or assist with risk assessments and development of work methods.

All works need to consider the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2020 for Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines.