Working safe

Working near powerlines

Working outdoors can often mean working alongside the electricity network. Appropriate safety controls are vital to keeping you and your co-workers safe.

You can minimise the chance of striking an overhead powerline by following these important steps:

Plan your work

  • Plan your job well in advance to keep a safe distance from overhead powerlines
  • Check clearance distances. Refer to Ausgrid's Quick Reference Guide - Working Near Ausgrid Assets to check the distances required between construction machinery and the network Remember that clearance distances can vary according to the type of powerline
  • Use the safety planning tools. Use Look Up and Live and Before You Dig services to identify powerlines and underground cables in proximity to your work area.

Plan your site safety requirements

  • Set up safely. Set up plant, machinery, equipment, work platforms, cranes, cement and tipper trucks away from powerlines
  • Refer to the safety factsheets 'Electricity and scaffolding' and 'What to do if a vehicle contacts powerlines'
  • Prepare safe traffic paths at your worksite to avoid the chance of contact with overhead powerlines. If you are bringing a high load on site, map out a safe access path away from powerlines
  • Use visual indicators like tiger tails and signs to remind workers of overhead powerlines. Remember, tiger tails are not insulators – their presence does not mean you can work closer to powerlines. Check our safety clearance advice section and submit a Safety Clearance Advice Request for further clearance advice
  • Plan and request electricity disconnections. Consider whether you need to disconnect the power while moving plant equipment like cranes onto your job site.
  • Assign an observer to monitor and ensure safe clearances are maintained between machinery, scaffolding and powerlines.

Check the location of overhead powerlines

Look up and Live LogoYou can now check overhead powerlines on your property using the Look Up and Live app.
Look Up and Live provides overhead powerline locations and imagery available to the public online, at no cost, via an interactive geospatial map. The app provides the ability to search locations and to overlay maps with third party mapping programs.
Find out more about Ausgrid's Look Up and Live.

What happens if a vehicle comes into contact with powerlines?

If you or your workmates find yourselves in danger, it's important to know what to do.

  • Vehicles, or machinery may become “live" and the electricity may attempt to pass through the vehicle to the ground. The areas in proximity to the vehicle may be electrified. Remain at least 8 metres away.
  • Objects in contact with powerlines may also conduct electricity, including trees, fences and equipment. 

What should you do?

  • Remain calm and stay inside the vehicle until the electricity has been switched off and powerlines have been removed.
  • Call triple zero (000). The local electricity distributor will be dispatched to switch off the electricity.
  • No one should approach the vehicle. Bystanders should remain at least 8 metres away.
  • Once the electricity has been switched off and powerlines are safely removed, you’ll be instructed on how to safely exit the vehicle or drive away from danger.

What if the situation becomes life-threatening?

  • Exit the vehicle by landing with both feet firmly planted on the ground, at the same time.
  • Touch as little as possible and do not close the vehicle door after exiting, and do not open doors for other passengers. Avoid any water on the ground.
  • Shuffle 8 metres away from danger, slowly, without moving your feet more than a few inches at a time. It is crucial that both feet always remain in contact with the ground when shuffling. 
  • Do not return to the vehicle until the area has been given the 'all clear' by the electrical distributor when they arrive on site. 

Working safe factsheets

NSW Work Near Overhead Powerlines Code of Practice

Electrical Safety for Building and Construction Workers

Using scaffolding near the electricity network

Working near powerlines

Working near underground cables

Safe Work Australia

Information about safe work practices, including safety clearances from overhead powerlines, can be found in the Safe Work Australia and SafeWork NSW Codes of Practice. You can also visit Safe Work Australia and SafeWork NSW for practical advice, guidance and preventative strategies to help mitigate and manage workplace risks to health and safety.