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The Blue Book 2017 – draft now open to public comment

The first draft for the Code of Practice on Electrical Safety for Work on or Near High Voltage Electrical Apparatus (The Blue Book) has been released for public comment.

The Code of Practice on Electrical Safety for Work on or Near High Voltage Electrical Apparatus (The Blue Book) is maintained by the Electrical Safety Committee (ESC), established under Section 8 of the Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005.

Owners and operators of the electricity supply network, high voltage electrical installations and complex electrical installations are required to comply with the Blue Book.

The objective of the ESC is to review and further develop the Blue Book to facilitate the electrical safety of electrical generation, transmission and distribution systems and high voltage electrical installations.

The Blue Book is revised and republished every five years to ensure that the safety standards for work on or near high voltage electrical apparatus are fit for purpose, reflect industry best practice and are improved where possible.

Accordingly, the Blue Book 2012 has been revised by the ESC and proposed changes are now incorporated the draft Blue Book 2017.

Click here to review the draft Blue Book 2017.

Summary of changes

Below is a summary of proposed changes to the Blue Book from the 2012 edition.

  • Definitions of Operating authority and Station were changed to improve clarity.
  • The wording of some sections were changed to better reflect the intention, and improve clarity.
  • New subsection 3.14 provides guidance on victim’s rescue.
  • The principles of section 4 Training and Authorisation now applies to not only high voltage (HV) apparatus, but also low voltage apparatus.
  • New paragraph in subsection 4.1 to cover workers under a training program.
  • Subsections of section 5 were re-arranged into operational order.
  • Subsection 6.1 was rewritten and Figure 2 was replaced with Figures 2A and 2B highlighting SAD – beyond reach concept, and SAD-expected reach concept, respectively.
  • New paragraph in subsection 6.2.2 defines Safe approach distance – special
  • Safe approach distance (SAD) for 132kV, 220kV and 275kV in Table 5 were slightly increased to be consistent with Australian Standards.
  • New subsection 7.2 requires written HV switching instructions, wherever practicable.
  • The principles of section 9 Access for work on or near high voltage electrical apparatus was changed to better reflect the intention, and improve clarity.
  • Subsections of section 9 were re-arranged to reflect the operational order of work.
  • New subsection 9.2.4.4 clarifies that HV live work and work under an Access Authority shall not be performed concurrently on the same structure.
  • New subsection 9.2.7.2 reinforces the good working practice to record earths on electrical access permits, or to document them in accordance with organisational procedures.
  • New subsection 9.3.2 Planning and Applying for testing of high voltage apparatus.
  • Subsection 9.3.4 Persons permitted to sign onto sanctions for testing was changed to better reflect the intention, and improve clarity.
  • New paragraph in subsection 9.7.1 Isolation and earthing requires that whenever practicable, isolation points should be tagged.

ESV now invites all stakeholders, interested parties and workers to comment on the 2017 draft of the Blue Book.

How to comment

To provide comments, simply follow the steps below.

  1. Dowlonad the draft Blue Book 2017 and the associated Comment form.
  2. Complete the form.
  3. Submit the completed form to Loc Vuong at loc.vuong@energysafe.vic.gov.au.

If you have any questions about The Blue Book, contact Loc Vuong of the Electricity Safety and Technical Regulation team at ESV by calling 03 9203 9700.

The closing date for submissions of comment is 5.00pm AEDT, Friday 16 June 2017.