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High voltage electrical apparatus electrical safety (The Blue Book)

The Code of Practice on Electrical Safety for Work on or Near High Voltage Electrical Apparatus

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 2005 Blue Book was revised and republished in 2012.

The Blue Book 2012

To read The Blue Book 2012, click here.

Below is a summary of significant changes to the Blue Book from the 2005 edition.

  • Some definitions of words or phrases were altered to improve clarity.
  • Arc flash protective clothing has been added as accepted personal protective equipment.
  • A requirement for annual review of authorisations has been removed. However, a person’s authorisation must be current for the task being performed.
  • Removed the ambiguity of earthing requirement when erecting or dismantling overhead conductor.
  • Changes to Safe Approach Distance – Special.
  • For the purpose of training electrical operator, a new dot point was inserted into the list of “Persons Authorised to Operate High Voltage Electrical Apparatus”.
  • Introduced the concept of “equipotential work zone” when earthing overhead conductor.
  • As not all organisations use a sanction for test, alternative approved procedure is allowed if the approved procedure meets the requirements of sections 9.3.2 and 9.3.6 to achieve the same or a better safety outcome.
  • New subsection was inserted in section 12 regarding safety rules for vegetation management work near overhead lines by non-electrical workers who are employed or engaged by municipal councils.

The Code of Practice on Electrical Safety for Work on or Near High Voltage Electrical Apparatus was superseded by The Blue Book 2012 on 1 April 2013. All industry workers must now comply with the requirements of The Blue Book 2012.

Help us update The Blue Book

The Blue Book is revised and republished every five years to ensure continuous improvement of safety standards for work on or near high voltage electrical installations and the supply network.

As workers in the industry, ESV is seeking your comments and suggested improvements on the 2012 edition of The Blue Book.

How to comment

Provide your comments or suggested improvements in an email to Loc Vuong at

All emailed suggestions or comments should include the following information:

  • Subject line: The Blue Book 2012 suggested improvements
  • Your name or the name of the person commenting/suggesting a change
  • Your company name
  • Page number in The Blue Book
  • Clause number
  • Your comment, and/or
  • Suggested alternative text (if required)

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