Vehicles with high loads

If you’re transporting a load more than 4.6m high under overhead powerlines, you’ll need to apply for our written authorisation.

We’ll assess your load, your intended route and times of travel to make sure that your high load won’t contact overhead powerlines.

To apply for your permit:

  1. Download a Notification to Transport High Loads form (PDF 256.8 kb)
  2. Email your completed form to highloadescort@energex.com.au.

Once we’ve reviewed your submission, we’ll issue an authorisation to travel. You must have this document in writing  before you can transport a high load. It is recommended that you keep a copy of the authorisation with you while transporting the high load.

Note: you must have our written authorisation to travel before transporting a high load.

You can find more information in:

Safe work practices for transporting high loads

High loads come in all shapes and sizes - the one thing they have in common is the possibility of coming into contact with live overhead powerlines. If the height of your vehicle or load is over 4.6 metres you are transporting a high load and are at risk.

If you intend to transport a high load, you must comply with the Electrical Safety Code of Practice.

This means before taking the journey with a high load, you must submit a /Notification to Transport High Load/ form. This form lets us know the details of what you are transporting, the route you are taking, and the timeframe you are going to be travelling in.

Once we’ve reviewed your submission, we’ll issue an authorisation to travel. You must have this document in writing  before you can transport a high load. It is recommended that you keep a copy of the authorisation with you while transporting the high load.

When planning and travelling, take the time to spot any electrical hazards. Locate overhead powerlines visually or use our Look Up and Live app. Make sure you note the different exclusion zone distances for operating plant and vehicles.

You should also be on the lookout for changing conditions that could affect your journey and create new hazards. These could include sagging powerlines caused by heat on a hot day, high winds causing lines to sway or fall, visibility being affected by the time of day you are travelling, and any damage to poles or infrastructure that could affect clearance heights.

Remember to also check for poles and overhead powerlines before climbing on top of your vehicle. The extra height gained could put you into a powerline exclusion zone, even if your load is not.

Before starting work take the time to plan.

Visit our website or contact us for more information about transporting high loads and working safely around powerlines.

Understanding step and touch potential

Step potential is the voltage between the feet of a person standing near an energized grounded object. Touch potential is the voltage between any two points on a person’s body, hand to hand, shoulder to back, hand to foot etc. An example is if an overhead conductor falls onto a car and a person touches the car, current could pass through the person to the ground.

An easy way to understand step potential is to imagine a stone being dropped into a pool of still water. When the stone hits the water, it forms ripples that spread out from the point where the stone hit. The ripples are stronger at the centre, and gradually become weaker the further they travel.

The same thing happens with electricity if a powerline falls on the ground, or machinery or a vehicle contacts a powerline.

If you’re in a vehicle that contacts either overhead or underground powerlines, STAY inside. If you’re a bystander, STAY 10 metres away. CALL triple zero and WAIT for help.

Watch our short video for an easy way to understand step and touch potential.

An easy way to understand step potential is to imagine a stone being dropped into a pool of still water. When the stone hits the water, it forms ripples that spread out from the point where the stone hit. The ripples are stronger at the centre, and gradually become weaker the further they travel.

The same thing happens with electricity if a powerline falls on the ground, or machinery or a vehicle contacts a powerline.

If a mobile crane came in contact with an 11,000-volt powerline, the electricity surges to the ground, spreading outwards through the earth at the point of contact, just like the ripples in the water. The first ripple would be 10,000 volts, then 9,000, 8,000 and so on. If you're standing within a 10 meter radius of the crane and you've got one foot on the 8,000 volt ripple and the other foot on the 7,000 volt ripple you will receive an electric shock that can be fatal. This happens because high voltage will always travel towards low voltage and your body is a much better conductor than the ground.

This is called step potential.

Touch potential is the voltage between the energised object, and the feet of a person touching that object. The touch potential is the full voltage of the energised object. If you were touching the crane you would receive the full 11,000 volts straight through your body.

The safest place to be is at least 10 meters away from the crane, or inside the crane. This may seem illogical, but the metal crane is a much better conductor than your body - the electricity will flow through the metal first because it is a less resistant path. If you attempt to leave the vehicle you may receive an electric shock that could be fatal.

Remember, accidents do happen. If you’re in a vehicle, STAY inside. If you’re a bystander, STAY 10 metres away. CALL triple zero, and WAIT for help.