Electrical safety on your property

Powerlines may sag significantly between poles, potentially hanging three to four metres below their supports, making them prone to accidental contact. They can also sway in the wind and sag further in high temperatures, turning what seems like a safe distance into a serious risk to people and property.

You need to determine the height and reach of all machinery and plant used near powerlines and consider the way it is used to identify hazardous situations. Plant and machinery such as irrigation pipes, grain augers, elevators, grain silos, cranes and excavators all have the potential to contact powerlines.

Always lower an auger or other machinery before moving it.

Familiarise yourself with the overhead electrical system on, and near your property and maintain a safe distance from these powerlines. Ensure equipment operators and workers are properly trained to conduct activities near powerlines safely.

Before work starts:

  • Complete a risk assessment and put in place suitable safety measures.
  • Ensure equipment operators and workers are aware of overhead and underground power line locations, specified exclusion zones and the height and reach of equipment being used.
  • Be aware that the layout of powerlines may be altered by your electricity distributor.
  • Be aware that powerlines can move and vary in height due to factors such as wind and temperature and adjust work practices accordingly.
  • Equipment operators and workers should be made aware of the clearances that must be maintained.
  • Use highly visible ground markers to highlight overhead powerlines. Contact your electricity distributor for advice on visual markers.
  • Establish aircraft landing strips and approach paths away from powerlines.
  • Keep all crops and vegetation well clear of power poles and stay wires.
  • Ensure no damage occurs to poles, stay wires and overhead powerlines when burning off.
  • Ensure you have clearly defined emergency procedures and ensure all workers are familiar with them in the event of contact with electricity. The Look up and Live map can help you plan work near powerlines. It can help minimise contact and reduce the risk of injury or death from electrocution and damage to equipment. Visit ergon.com.au.

Why Kerryn O’Connor’s family wants you to understand the critical role of Regulatory Compliance Marks (RCM) on electrical equipment and the importance of safety switches switches

Kerryn O’Connor was only 35 years old when she was electrocuted by a submersible water pump she was using in the backyard of her home.

The pump wasn’t designed, manufactured or tested to Australian standards. An internal, hidden fault caused the outer metal casing of the pump to become live, killing Kerryn instantly.

Scan the QR code for more information about the RCM mark, safety switches and to watch Kerryn’s story.

Kerryn’s family want you to know that it doesn’t matter what electrical equipment you buy – a power saw, electric drill or portable generator – check for the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) printed on the product or its packaging. This means the product meets Australian safety standards.

Kerryn’s family also want you to know the importance of having safety switches on every circuit:

“It just would have meant the difference between Kerryn being with us and not being with us.”

Safety switches turn off the power in a fraction of a second if a leakage of current is detected. This can happen if there is a faulty power point or electrical appliance or you accidentally hit a live cable while drilling into a wall.

Lithium-ion battery-operated equipment

To learn more about buying lithium-ion battery equipment and how to use the equipment safely scan the QR code.

Lithium-ion battery operated equipment has grown in popularity but also comes with risks.

There have been several fires that have involved lithium-ion batteries in equipment like drones, remote control vehicles, power tools and other household or recreational devices with rechargeable batteries, both internal and detachable.

Article kindly provided by Electrical Safety Office Queensland