Look Up, Look Out
When you’ve got a job to do, it can be easy to forget that powerlines are there and the dangers they pose. But accidentally touching or even getting too close to powerlines can be fatal.
Whether you’re flying a drone, working around your home, on the farm or construction site, you need to stop, look up and look out for powerlines.
Tips to keep you safe
Be aware of your surroundings
Most powerline safety accidents occur as a result of inattention or distraction. Before starting work, take a moment to check the location of nearby powerlines and other electricity infrastructure.
Know the height of your equipment
You don’t even need to touch powerlines to be seriously injured or killed. Ensure you know the exact height of your vehicle or machinery and use an observer to monitor your clearance, especially when your tray or excavator is fully raised or extended.
Keep objects away from powerlines
Take extra care when carrying tall equipment like ladders and keep objects like drones well away from powerlines. Never attempt to climb or throw objects at electricity infrastructure – this can put you at risk of electrocution.
Never touch powerlines
Ensure no part of a person or vehicle comes within three metres of any powerline. If you come across a fallen powerline on your property, always assume it’s live. Keep well away and report it to us on 132 004 immediately.
Water and electricity don’t mix
Water is a conductor of electricity. Take care to ensure water jets from irrigators are kept well away from powerlines and pipes, plant, machinery or any other potentially conductive material under powerlines.
Repairing damaged electrical infrastructure is a costly exercise for us and we may recover costs from individuals or businesses responsible for any damage to infrastructure as a result of encroaching the minimum safe clearance distances.
What do I do if powerlines fall?
Severe weather, falling trees and vehicle accidents can bring down powerlines. Fallen powerlines are dangerous and should not be touched or approached under any circumstances.
If you find powerlines on the ground, assume they are live. Keep yourself, other people and machinery at least 10 metres away and call us on 132 004 or emergency services on 000 for immediate assistance.
Be aware any object that comes into contact with powerlines could be live. If the conditions are wet, it is more dangerous as water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Any metallic object, including fences, will be electrified if they touch or are even close to a live fallen powerline. Even a tree branch can be a potential conductor of electricity if it is in contact with a live powerline.
When a vehicle collides with a power pole
Vehicle accidents can sometimes involve our infrastructure, including collisions with power poles. If you find yourself in a situation where a powerline is in contact with your vehicle, stay inside the vehicle until help arrives. No one should touch or approach the vehicle. Instead, call emergency services immediately on 000 or us on 132 004.
If you believe your life is threatened by staying inside the vehicle:
- Open the door
- Avoid touching the ground and the car at the same time
- Jump clear, landing with both feet together
- Shuffle or make small jumps with your feet constantly together (“kangaroo hop”) until you’re at least 10 metres from the vehicle
- If you fall when jumping clear of the vehicle, do not attempt to get up, roll away from the vehicle.
For more information on electrical safety, visit electricitysafety.com.au
Working near powerlines
Its important to keep a safe distance from powerlines to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Remember that clearance distances can vary according to the type of powerline