Outages

Pause on all live work

 

Introduction

In April 2019 we tragically lost one of our team. Following this loss, we put a “pause” on conducting live work while we reviewed the way we conduct this work.

We made this decision in the interests of improving safety for everyone who works on or near the live network. Safety is our number one priority and at the end of the day everyone must go home safe and sound.

Live Work Project Update

While we acknowledge that it’s been a tough time, in the past few months we have made a lot of progress. We have a dedicated Live Work project team working on the review and a plan to return to live work progressively, over a number of stages.

To date we have:

  •  implemented additional controls for urgent and planned works;
  • conducted risk assessment workshops with more than 120 Ausgrid employees and experts;
  • identified and completed fresh risk assessments on the 200+ tasks we perform live;
  • categorised live work into Category 1, 2 or 3 tasks - based on risk;
  • developed a plan for recommencement of five low voltage live work tasks in Stage 1 with additional safety controls in place;
  • engaged internal and external experts to help us rethink the way we work;
  • developed and piloted new training and verification of competency programs;
  • developed an assurance plan to make sure that the safety improvements we want to make are embedded and maintained;
  • updated and developed new policies and procedures including the Electrical Safety Rules, Safe Work Method Statements and a new Low Voltage Live Work Manual; and
  • established consultation forums including a Steering Committee, ASP Roundtable and Industry Consultative Group.
     

Progressive Recommencement of Live Work

We will be returning to live work progressively over a number of stages. Stage 1 will involve returning to live work on the following tasks (Stage 1 Live Work Tasks) with new safety controls in place:

  1. Application and removal of temporary insulation to low voltage exposed conductors.
  2. Connection and disconnection of service connectors.
  3. Connection and disconnection of bolted conductor connections.
  4. Maintenance and replacement of street lighting.
  5. Work on or near extra low voltage exposed conductors.

Pre-requisites for Employees to Recommence Stage 1 Live Work Tasks

Each Ausgrid employee will only be able to return to live work on Stage 1 Live Work Tasks when they have:

  • completed a medical and functional assessment and been assessed as being fit for work;
  • completed a one-day training workshop in the fundamentals of live low voltage work;
  • completed a verification of competency assessment in live low voltage work; and
  • received confirmation from Ausgrid that they are authorised to return to live work on Stage 1 Live Work Tasks.

Next Steps for the Live Work Project

We’ve come a long way in the past few months, but there’s still a lot to do. Next steps involve:

  • seeking endorsement for Stage 2 recommendations and tasks;
  • conducting fresh risk assessments on high-risk tasks;
  • continuing to consult and engage with our people, stakeholders, customers and the ETU; and
  • rolling out training, verification of competency and assurance programs across our network.

Accredited Service Providers

Before returning to live work on Stage 1 Live Work Tasks, all ASPs will need to confirm that they comply with the requirements of their Ausgrid authorisation agreement including that:

  • their safe systems of work comply with applicable minimum requirements, including compliance with the updated Electrical Safety Rules;
  • they have retrained authorised workers in their safe systems of work for undertaking work on or near the network;
  • their authorised workers have been provided with, and have ongoing access to, their safe systems of work including the updated Electrical Safety Rules;
  • they have provided their authorised workers and subcontractors with all necessary safety equipment and personal protective equipment and ensure that every authorised employee and subcontractor uses that equipment as required; and
  • they have verified the competency of their authorised workers in the appropriate use and application of the safety controls required to perform live low voltage work.

Questions

If you have any questions in relation to the Live Work Project, these can be sent to the Live Work Project Team at livework@ausgrid.com.au.