Owners and operators of high voltage (HV) and complex electrical installations need to be aware of their obligations in regards to electrical safety and compliance for work carried out on or near their electrical assets, equipment and installations.
This guideline aims to inform owners and operators of HV and complex electrical installations of some of their obligations. Key focus areas in this guideline are:
- The safety standards and obligations of owners and operators of complex installations
- The safety standards and obligations of owners and operators of HV installations
- The obligations for supervision of apprentices
- The reporting of serious electrical incidents.
While this guideline is aimed at owners and operators of HV and complex installations, many aspects of it are relevant to all electrical installations.
Complex and HV electrical installations
A complex electrical installation is an electrical installation that has a generation capacity equal to or greater than 1000kVA.
Complex electrical installations can include, but may not be limited to, traditional coal and gas-fired power stations, wind, solar and hydro power stations. This also includes
- battery energy storage systems (BESS)
- rotating/dynamic grid stabilisers and
- yet-to-be-utilised technology that can generate electricity.
A complex electrical installation is also an electric line that is on land that is not owned or leased by the owner or operator of the electric line.
An HV installation is
- an electrical installation, or part thereof, that operates at alternating current (AC) voltage exceeding 1000 volts, or
- a ripple free direct current (DC) voltage exceeding 1500 volts.
The Electricity Safety Act 1998
Part 7 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (ESA) places legal obligations on owners or operators of complex electrical installations. These obligations include that an owner or operator of a complex electrical installation must take reasonable care to ensure that all parts of the complex electrical installation that it owns or operates are
- maintained and
- in accordance with the regulations
- are safe and operated safely.
In relation to design, this means that electrical installations shall be designed to eliminate or, if this is not reasonably practicable, minimise risks to health and safety throughout the lifecycle of the installation.
The Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019
The Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 ('the Regulations') came into effect in December 2019.
There are some key regulations that owners and operators of HV and complex installations should be aware of, in particular:
- Part 4 Reporting and records
- 401 Reporting of serious electrical incidents
- Part 5 Division 1 - Electrical safety duties and safety standards:
- 501 Safety standards- high voltage electrical installations
- 502 Safety standards- complex electrical installations
- Part 5 Division 3 - Supervision duties
- 507 Supervision of apprentices carrying out electrical installation work.
Owners and operators of HV and complex installations safety standards
Regulations 501 and 502 outline the safety standards for HV and complex installations. These regulations include, but are not limited to, the following requirements:
Owners and operators must ensure that
- The electrical installation is safe, and it is maintained and operated safely
- Any person operating the HV or complex electrical installation has a standard of
- proficiency and
- experience that enables that person to safely perform their function
- Any person operating or maintaining the HV or complex electrical installation has written operating and maintenance procedures that describe
- the methods of operation
- energisation and
- de-energisation of the HV or complex electrical installation
- Any person operating or maintaining any part of the HV or complex electrical installation is
- authorised and
- instructed to perform the work on the HV or complex electrical installation in accordance with the owner or operator's operating and maintenance procedures
- Any person working on or near the installation is trained in accordance with and complies with the provisions of the Blue Book
- An assessment of the owner’s or operator’s compliance with these requirements is carried out every 2 years.
Supervision of apprentices carrying out electrical installation work – Regulation 507
- It is now a requirement that any person who employs an apprentice must ensure that the apprentice is given effective supervision in accordance with Energy Safe Victoria’s (ESV) requirements for the effective supervision of apprentice electricians.
This requirement extends to any licensed electrician or licensed electrical switchgear worker who has been tasked with supervising an apprentice carrying out electrical installation work.
Electrical incident reporting obligations
Reporting of serious electrical incidents – Regulation 401
A serious electrical incident means an incident involving electricity which causes or has the potential to cause
- The death or injury to a person or
- Significant damage to property or
- A serious risk to public safety.
All reports of serious electrical incidents must be
- made to ESV’s emergency response line on 1800 000 922.
- followed up in a detailed written report and sent to ESV within 20 business days of the initial report.
Reporting of other electrical incidents – accidental contact and electric shock – Regulation 402
A reportable electrical incident means
- an incident involving electricity in which a person has made accidental contact with any electrical installation or
- has received an electric shock as the result of direct or indirect contact with any electrical installation.
All details of the reportable electrical incident must be given in writing to ESV within 20 business days of any person becoming aware of that incident.
Supporting electrical safety – related references
ESV deems the following documents to assist in meeting the above-mentioned minimum safety standards and requirements:
- Arc Flash Hazard Management
- Guideline - Arc Flash Hazard Management
- Arc flash self-audit tool
- Requirements for the effective supervision of apprentice electricians
- The Blue Book
- Management of electrical equipment in Hazardous Areas In Major Hazardous Facilities (WorkSafe
- AS/NZS 4836 - Safe working on or near low-voltage electrical installations and equipment (Standards
The information presented in this guideline is intended for general use only.
Some information about the legislation is not directly quoted. It should not be viewed as a definitive guide to the law, and should be read in conjunction with the Electricity Safety Act and pursuant regulations.
- The word ‘must’ indicates that legal requirements exist which must be complied with
- The word ‘should’ indicates a recommended course of action
- The word ‘may’ indicates an optional course of action.
- Wind turbines – requirements for installation
- Victorian traction industry electrical safety rules (The Orange Book)
- Certificates of Electrical Safety
- Electrical industry guidance
For more information regarding arc flash hazard management
- see Arc flash hazard management
- contact ESV on 03 9203 9700
- call WorkSafe Victoria Advisory Service 1800 136 089
For information on electricity safety legislation
- call ESV on 03 9203 9700 or see these pages:
Look up and live
Power lines are part of our landscape - sometimes we don’t even notice they are there. Be aware of precautions to take. Look up and live
Before You Dig Australia
Be careful where you dig or break the ground in any way, as there may be underground services, such as gas and electricity.
Any time you are breaking the ground with a shovel or an excavator, contact Before You Dig Australia at www.byda.com.au to lodge your free enquiry and find out if it is safe to dig.
Electricity Safety Act 1998
Electricity Safety (General) Regulation 2019
AS/NZS 3000 Wiring Rules
AS/NZS 4836 Safe working on or near low-voltage electrical installations and equipment
Code of practice on electrical safety for work on or near high voltage electrical apparatus (the Blue Book)
Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
NEC Electrical Arc Flash Hazard Management Guideline March 2019
ENA NENS 09 - National guide to the selection, use and maintenance of PPE for electrical arc hazards
IEEE 1584-2018 Guide to Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations
NFPA 70E- Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace 2021
For information regarding this guideline, please contact:
Electrical Installation Safety, Energy Safe Victoria
Level 1, Building 4 Brandon Business Park
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Phone: (03) 9271 5414
WorkSafe Victoria’s Advisory Service
Phone: 1800 136 089
Note: This guidance material has been prepared using the best information available to Energy Safe Victoria and should be used for general use only. Any information about legislative obligations or responsibilities included in this material is only applicable to the circumstances described in the material. You should always check the legislation referred to in this material and make your own judgement about what action you may need to take to ensure you have complied with the law. Accordingly, Energy Safe Victoria and/or WorkSafe cannot be held responsible and extends no warranties as to the suitability of the information for your specific circumstances; or actions taken by third parties as a result of information contained in the guidance material. Safety standards for High Voltage and Complex electrical installations.
Date: 25/03/2023 15:12
The material in this print-out was accurate at the time of printing.
Reviewed 23 February 2023