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What do I need to know before working near overhead powerlines?

16 February 2022
Brendan Clayton

What do I need to know before working near overhead powerlines?

Overhead power line contact is one of the largest single causes of fatalities associated with mobile plant and equipment.

Too often we are hearing of accidents involving contact with overhead powerlines when working near overhead powerlines.

Recently SafeWork NSW reported that a 24-year-old operator received an electric shock resulting in serious injuries. He was in the process of moving a drilling rig to a new hole location when the pendant control drill rig he was using struck overhead high voltage powerlines.

Contact between mobile plant and equipment with energised overhead powerlines is one of the biggest workplace killers.

Persons conducting a business or undertaking (usually the business or employer) who are working in the vicinity of energised overhead power lines and associated electrical apparatus must do the following before commencing work.

What do you need to know prior to working near overhead powerlines?

It is essential that you know the height and voltage of the overhead powerlines in your work area and the height of your machinery in both the operating and transport positions. If you are unsure of the height and voltage of powerlines you should contact your local energy provider for more information.

Do not attempt to directly measure the height of overhead powerlines as contact with them may cause serious injury or be potentially fatal.

Be aware that powerline heights can vary, therefore a visual inspection for changes in powerlines should be carried out before commencing any activity or passing near/under them.

What can you do to stay safe when working near overhead powerlines?

1. Provide workers with accurate, up-to-date maps/diagrams showing the location of powerlines on the property

2. Identify safe travel paths to help eliminate the possibility of contact with powerlines

3. Ensure operators are aware of the height and reach of their machinery in both stowed and working positions

4. Assign a competent safety observer to each work team to guide machinery movements near overhead power lines, to warn the operator of any unsafe conditions and ensure that safe approach distances are maintained

5.  Always lower all machinery to the transport position when relocating

6.  Work away from powerlines not towards

7. Ensure maintenance of machinery and storage activities are carried out well away from powerlines

8. Where possible, provide ground barriers

9. Contact your local energy provider about marking powerlines and power poles on your property for improved visibility

And above all remember LOOK UP & LIVE!

Here at Industroquip we have a range of safety signs and equipment that are great at reminding workers to look up and live and barriers etc to protect your staff, reach out to our team now on 1300554192 to discuss your safety needs.



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