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Working around powerlines

Important information about working – and building – near powerlines.

No Go Zones and working around powerlines

In response to electricity-related deaths and accidents on work sites and farms, ESV has taken a lead role in establishing a best practice approach for mechanical plant and equipment such as mobile cranes, tipping trucks, concrete pumping machines, scaffolding and elevated work platforms being operated in near overhead powerlines.

This initiative, known as the ‘No Go Zone’ (NGZ) involved the development, introduction and communication of a consistent set of rules when working near overhead power lines.

The No Go Zone rules describe minimum safety requirements that are dependent on the distance between overhead powerlines and the work being performed.

What to do if you or someone else hits a powerline

If you’re in a vehicle that hits or arcs a powerline, stay in the vehicle and call for help.

If you see someone hit a powerline, stay at least eight metres away and call 000.

WorkSafe’s farm safety campaign: Stop, Look up and Live

An illustration of farming equipment knocking down a powerline with small fires on the ground around the vehicle. To the left of the graphic is the message

Look up and live, and check for powerlines before any work begins

Tips for reducing the risk with overhead powerlines include:

  1. Stack hay and other materials well away from powerlines.
  2. Park oversized machinery away from powerlines.
  3. Rethink your loading zones on the farm – you don’t need to touch a powerline for it to arc.
  4. Talk with workers and contractors about how to work safely around powerlines, and what to do if they hit a powerline.
  5. Remember powerlines can sag in hot weather, which means there may be less distance between yourself and the powerlines than you think.

Resources

Aerial powerlines locations on DELWP Spatial DataShare platform

DELWP have worked together with MECs to develop ongoing custodianship agreements and reach in-principal agreement to make Victorian overhead powerline location data available on DELWP new DataShare platform.

Location of the powerlines was officially made available on DELWP Spatial DataShareExternal Link on 21 September 2021. DELWP published an article as to how the dataset would help emergency services in preparing for the upcoming fire season. For more information click “DELWP prepares for fire season”External Link .

This shared data enables emergency managers to coordinate geospatial intelligence to minimise the impact of disaster on people, homes, property and infrastructure. It will also support regional planning, development and collaboration across the border, and strengthen emergency management capabilities for both states, Victoria and NSW.

Who is my power company?

To determine which power company is responsible for the power poles in your area, visit DELWP External Link and enter your address to view maps of the distributor areas.

Below are the contact details for each of the five Victorian power companies and web pages with their Working Near Powerlines information.

AusNet Services

Phone: 1300 360 795
WebsiteExternal Link

Jemena

Phone: 131 626
WebsiteExternal Link

Powercor / CitiPower

Powercor: 132 206
CitiPower: 1300 301 101
WebsiteExternal Link

United Energy

Phone: 1300 131 689
WebsiteExternal Link

More information

Follow the links below for more information No Go Zones.

Distribution overhead powerlines

Distribution overhead powerlines range in voltage from 240V up to 66,000V (66kV).

Distribution overhead lines include electrical overhead lines for traction assets such as trains and trams.

No Go Zones

  1. Work outside 6.4m from overhead power lines no specific requirements are established other than those described in established regulation, primarily the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017.
  2. Work between 3.0m and 6.4m from an overhead power line, a registered spotter is required. This is known as the Spotter Zone.
  3. Work within 3.0m from an overhead power line, permission from the relevant network operator is required and additional preventative measures will need to be taken.

ESV produces stickers (pictured below) outlining the exclusions listed above. These are available via our Merchandise page.

A simple infographic showing a powerline and the no go zone, as well as the zone where a spotter is required and the open area, using colour and a dotted line to differentiate each section.

More information

Read more on exclusions and clearances via links below.

Transmission overhead powerlines

Transmission overhead powerlines range in voltage from 132kV up to 500kV. They are installed on towers or steel poles.

An illustrated diagram showing a range of powerline towers and the spacing required around each type of power as well as each tower's type and height.
Transmission lines are typically installed in easements and permission is required before any work can be undertaken on the easement.

No Go Zones for towers

  • Work outside 10m from overhead power lines no specific requirements are established other than those described in established regulation, primarily the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007.
  • Work between 10m and 8m from an overhead power line, a registered spotter is required. This is known as the Spotter Zone.
  • Work within 8m from an overhead power line, permission from the relevant network operator is required.

ESV produces stickers (pictured below) outlining the exclusions listed above. These are available via our Merchandise page.

NGZ_PowerlinesTowers

More information

Follow the links below for more information on No Go Zones.

Underground assets

There are a number of different types of assets installed underground in Victoria. These include:

  • all electricity cables up to and including 66kV
  • all electricity cables greater than 66kV
  • telecommunications cables
  • assets listed under the Pipelines Act
  • all gas pipelines other than those listed above
  • water, drainage and sewerage pipelines.

A person must not penetrate deeper than 300 millimetres on any land where underground assets are located unless the person has inspected any relevant records.

Relevant records are held by the asset owner or via the Before You Dig Australia (BYDA)External Link service. A free service, via the BYDA website.

ESV produces stickers (pictured below) outlining the exclusions listed above. These are available via our Merchandise page.

An illustrated diagram showing a backhoe digging and, beneath the ground, the words

More information

Scaffolding

Erecting, dismantling and use of scaffold near overhead powerlines

If the erected scaffold or erection process causes scaffold components to come anywhere above or within 5 metres below and 4.6 metres horizontally to the side electrical powerline and, then a Permit to Work (PTW) from the power distribution company may be required for the work to proceed.

To ensure workers are not put at risk from overhead powerlines during the erecting and dismantling, or use of the scaffold; it is essential the power distribution company is contacted for advice and information if the scaffold or components will be within the No Go Zone.

Energy Safe Victoria and Worksafe VictoriaExternal Link consider that the use of an ‘ESV Spotter’ is not an adequate measure to control No Go Zone risks during the erection and dismantling of scaffolding. If erecting scaffolding within the No Go Zone the asset owner (Distribution Business, or traction company) must be contacted.

ESV produces stickers (pictured below) outlining the exclusions listed above. These are available to tradespeople via our Merchandise page.

Sticker_NoGoZone_OverheadPowerlinesOnPoles_BW_2021

Guidelines for scaffolding

Spotters

If you require the services of a spotter, contact one of the organisations on this list:

Spotters service providers

Where a spotter is to be used, the contractor must ensure they are properly inducted into all site safety procedures including the relevant Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS).

The spotter must remain at the task for the entire time the earthmoving equipment is required to operate in accordance with the SWMS. The spotter may only observe for one item of operating earthmoving equipment at any time.

The spotter must also carefully position themselves so they can monitor the distance between the equipment and the lines, and must provide early and effective warning to the earthmoving equipment operator of any potential encroachment on the No Go Zone.

Spotters for overhead electrical lines shall have completed an endorsed spotter training course by a registered training provider and be competent in the following areas:

  • the design envelopes for the equipment/plant being used
  • the operation and uses of the equipment/plant being used
  • the hazards posed by overhead electrical assets.

Requirements for spotters

  • General Requirements for Spotters
  • Lineworkers registration
  • Spotters’ registration

Building near powerlines

Ensure your building complies with regulations.

Required clearances between buildings and overhead powerlines must be maintained at all times – buildings that don’t comply are a serious safety hazard and in breach of the law.

Failure to consider overhead powerlines during the planning and construction stages can have expensive consequences and cause delays. It’s your responsibility to ensure your building complies with regulations well before construction commences.

ESV has developed guidelines to assist property owners, surveyors, planners, architects, builders and councils to consider clearance to overhead powerlines when designing and planning buildings, signs and other structures.

Date: 08/02/2023 9:26

Controlled document

The currency and accuracy of this document cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the ESV website for the current version.

Reviewed 28 January 2023

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