Safety at work

Working safely around electricity

Whether you're on a construction site, driving an over-sized vehicle or working the farm, it's important to take every precaution when working around electrical infrastructure. Always plan ahead and take precautions when working near:

  • overhead powerlines
  • underground power cables
  • network poles
  • point of attachments
  • private power poles
  • pillar boxes
  • transformers
  • switchgear enclosures
  • substation buildings

We all have a part to play to ensure safe work practices when working around electricity. Please read the Electricity Entity Requirements for working or operating plant near any overhead powerlines or underground cables.

Understanding your regulatory requirements

Any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) at a workplace is required to comply with the requirements of Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 Part 5 Overhead and Underground Electric Lines and Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines to ensure that no person, plant or item of equipment comes within an unsafe distance (exclusion zone) of an overhead electric line. Compliance with these regulatory requirements is essential to reduce the risk of electric shock and contact with Electricity Entity electric lines and other assets which can have deadly consequences.

  • Examples of work activities where risk of person, plant or equipment coming near or into contact with overhead electric lines include but are not limited to:
  • Pruning or felling trees or vegetation near overhead electric lines, including the service wire into a building;
  • Carrying out building work, scaffolding or demolition adjacent to overhead electric lines;
  • Painting fascia, replacing roofing, guttering or external cladding near service line point of entry to a building;
  • Operating cranes, tip trucks, cane harvesters, elevated work platforms, fork lifts, grain augers, excavators, irrigators, etc. near overhead electric lines;
  • Erecting or maintaining advertising signs or billboards near overhead electric lines;
  • Dam construction or levee bank earthworks.

Examples of work activities that could involve risk of damage to underground cables or earthing systems include but are not limited to:

  • Digging holes, excavating, sawing, trenching, under boring, sinking bore holes, earth works or laying cables, pipes, etc. or driving implements into the ground (e.g. star pickets, signs, fence posts) near where underground cables or earthing systems may be located.

To ensure it is safe for you to work near our electricity network you should consult the Local Government, the Planning Authority, Architect, Civil, Structural or Electrical Engineer or Project Manager specific to your project. We also recommend that you also engage a qualified service provider before you start.

Request for safety advice

You can request an application for safety advice by:

Once your completed Application is received, a time and date will be agreed to meet on site to provide Safety Advice.

A copy of the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines  and a copy of the Electricity Entity Requirements will be necessary during the meeting. Please ensure any Dial Before You Dig Plans and/or any location of underground asset plans are also available if required.

Certain control measures under the provisions on the Safety Advice may incur a fee.

Look Up and Live awareness sessions

Do you need to know about working near overhead and underground powerlines? Our awareness sessions will help keep you and your staff safe and explain our requirements.

Our Community Health and Safety team are highly experienced presenters who can deliver ‘Working near overhead and underground powerline awareness’ sessions at your location.

The team can provide sessions suitable for conferences or groups at individual businesses, local councils or emergency services groups. Their presentations easily explain the requirements of the Electrical Safety Legislation and Entity Requirements in simple terms that you can understand.

The presentations also contain valuable information on exclusion zones, safety observer zones, operating plant and vehicles near powerlines, and requirements for working near overhead and underground powerlines.

If you would like to book a session for your conference or staff, please email us and we'll contact you to discuss a suitable time.