Supported by poles or towers, overhead power lines are the most widely used mode of electricity transmission and distribution in Australia. They are sometimes referred to as aerial power lines, owing to the fact that they are suspended in the air.
The design and construction of overhead power lines vary depending on the voltage they are carrying. While these power lines are easier and cheaper to install, maintain and replace than their underground cousins, they can lead to accidents and injuries in the workplace. That is why it's important to think about safety prior to performing work around overhead power lines.
Here's an essential electrical safety guide for anyone planning on doing work near aerial power lines.
Conduct a Risk Assessment in Relation to the Proposed Work
Carrying out work near live overhead power lines is dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible. Accidental contact with live aerial power lines can cause electric shock, fires, or explosions that lead to serious injuries or even death.
Unfortunately, it's not always possible to avoid working around overhead power lines. In such cases, carrying out a pre-work risk assessment in relation to the work to be done is essential.
For instance, workers will need to know which types of plants, tools or machines are specified to be kept away from energised power lines. They'll also need to know the height of the power lines they'll be working around in order to determine if there is a risk of the power lines being struck by the tools and machines they'll be working with.
Implement Control Measures That Are Consistent With the Risk Assessment
When performing work around overhead power lines, workers must maintain a safe distance from the power lines. In situations where it is not possible to do so, arrangements must be made to make sure the lines are dead or disconnected when the work is in progress. This can be achieved by liaising with the power company that is responsible for maintaining the lines.
Workers must also get clearance from the utility provider that the plants, tools or machines that they intend to use are completely safe and aren't specified to be kept away from power lines.
Are overhead power lines standing in the way of your work? The best way to ensure everyone's safety when working around power lines is to compile an electrical safety plan to be followed during work. Contact an electrician who is experienced in overhead power line safety for assistance.