Power lines

Contact with live overhead and underground power lines kills people and causes many serious injuries every year.

If you are an employer (or other PCBU) you must make sure that no person, plant or thing comes within an unsafe distance of any overhead or underground electric line, so far as it is reasonably practicable.

If it is not reasonably practicable to ensure the safe distance of a person, plant or thing from an overhead or underground electric line, you must make sure that:

  • a risk assessment is conducted in relation to the proposed work
  • the control measures implemented are consistent with the risk assessment and any requirements of the electricity supply authority responsible for the electric line

The work near overhead power lines code of practice has more information on working safely around power lines including guidance on safe working distances.

'If you don’t know, don’t dig'

When a live cable is struck by a machine or the point of a tool, it can cause hazardous fires, fumes or explosions resulting in serious injuries including burns, electric shock or death.

This safety video provides essential information to all workers and businesses that work around underground electrical power.

Don't know, don't dig safety video.

Always remember “If you don’t know, don’t dig”.

Striking underground assets

Striking underground assets may cause disruption of critical services to thousands of people. Incidents may also arise when damage to these underground assets is unreported and not repaired.

The guide to working near underground assets has more detailed information for PCBUs, workers, and other parties involved in construction work near underground assets.

Further information

Safe Work Australia also has guidance material on working in the vicinity of overhead and underground electric lines to help you manage the risks.

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