Structures and billboards

Any time you’re working above ground level, you might also be working closer to our powerlines.

Remember to ‘take care stay line aware’ every time you climb a ladder or use tall equipment that could make contact with powerlines. Always use safe work habits to reduce your risk of electrical accidents.

Understanding the risks

Some work activities come with a higher risk of making contact with energised cables. This could cause power outages, damage your equipment or give you a life-threatening electric shock. This includes jobs like:

  • moving the location of a driveway or building driveways close to pillars or poles
  • installing a tall antenna in areas where broadcast reception is poor
  • erecting a flagpole or shade sails
  • erecting a cubby house
  • raising the ground level below powerlines
  • erecting metal fences or scaffolding close to poles or powerlines
  • excavating near poles, stay wires or where electricity assets run underground
  • using a crane near overhead powerlines
  • erecting or maintaining signs or billboards
  • erecting sheds
  • erecting carports below points of attachments
  • any building work near overhead or underground powerlines.

Other jobs might bring you close to a point of attachment, which is where the electrical service wires attach to a home or building. This includes activities like:

  • cleaning leaves from guttering
  • painting gutters, fascias and eaves
  • replacing the roofing or the guttering
  • pruning trees and shrubs.

What are my responsibilities?

If you’re in charge of your job, you need to take reasonable steps to protect your workers from electrical hazards. See the Electrical Safety Codes of Practice and Electrical Entity Requirements (PDF 894.0 kb) for more about your legal requirements for worker safety.

If you’re a worker, look for electrical hazards at the start of each day and keep an eye on them while you work. You can also use the following safe work habits to stay safe.

How to work safe

First, always get in touch with us during your planning stage to confirm that your proposed structure or equipment (e.g. scaffolding, cranes) will not enter a powerline exclusion zone. Find out more about exclusion zones

Next, use a simple risk management process like the one below to identify electrical hazards, assess risks and plan how to work safely around them.

1. Identify electrical hazards

Check your work area for electrical hazards at the start of each day, or as conditions change. These are objects or tasks that could cause damage or injury, like a power pole or moving a forklift under powerlines.

To spot electrical hazards:

  1. Check the location of powerlines and other electrical infrastructure by:
    1. locating overhead powerlines visually or using our Look up and Live map
    2. locating underground powerlines using the Dial Before you Dig service
    3. noting the exclusion zone distances for each overhead powerline
  2. Check for changing conditions that could create new hazards, like:
    1. Heat causing powerlines to sag, reducing clearance
    2. High winds causing lines to sway or fall
    3. Lower light at dawn/dusk causing reduced visibility
    4. Damaged power poles reducing clearance
  3. Check that your equipment and machinery:
    1. is in good working order, with no signs of damage
    2. will not pass into any powerline exclusion zones in the course of your job.

Look up and Live Map – visit now

If you’re a worker, tell the person in charge about any hazards you see and stay well clear.

If you’re in charge of the job, you’ll then need to assess the level of risk posed by each electrical hazard, before deciding on what action you’ll take.  You can find detailed guidance in the  Electrical Safety Codes of Practice and Electrical Entity Requirements. (PDF 894.0 kb)

IMPORTANT: Stay well clear of damaged powerlines and report them immediately by calling triple zero (000).

2. Use safe work habits

When you can’t remove a hazard, you can use safe work habits to reduce the risk as much as possible. Some ways to do this include:

  • having Energex install powerline markers on overhead powerlines
  • assigning a safety observer to guide machinery movements near overhead powerlines
  • taking care when working near attachment points and avoid contact with wiring, mounting brackets and mains box
  • monitoring that all people and equipment stays outside powerline exclusion zones, especially when conditions cause lines to sag or sway
  • lowering all machinery / equipment to the lowest point before relocating
  • Advising machinery and delivery vehicle operators of powerline locations
  • carrying out all maintenance and storage activities well away from powerlines.

Want more information?

Safety fact sheets

Download our fact sheets for information about working safely:

To order factsheets in industry packs, use our brochure & sticker order form.

Marking powerlines on your site

Find out about powerline markers and how to increase the visibility of powerlines on your property. Marking powerlines is especially important when operating large machinery on your property.

Awareness sessions

We also offer training sessions to help your team work safely near overhead and underground powerlines. These sessions can be targeted for conferences, business groups, local councils or emergency services groups. We cover topics such as exclusion zones, safety observer zones and how to safely operate plant and vehicles near powerlines.

Email us to find out more or to book a session.

Other forms and guidelines

Links to some popular request forms and information.