Working alongside electricity can be dangerous if the appropriate safety control measures are not applied.
That’s why it is important that statutory safety requirements and safe guidelines are adhered to. Not doing so can result in serious injuries and substantial damage to plant and equipment.
Safety on job sites
There are a number of steps you can take to identify the location of electricity infrastructure on your job sites and to help keep your workers and contractors safe. Here are the key ones:
Pre-plan your job by consulting with Endeavour Energy. We provide advice to the building industry, councils or any other organisation or individuals working near our overhead or underground network. Place an enquiry by completing a Request for Safety Advice and emailing it to email@example.com.
Verify all Dial Before You Digs plans before starting excavation work. Consider using cable location technologies, potholing and non-destructive digging techniques.
Develop site plans identifying the location of electrical infrastructure and effectively communicate these plans to staff. Keep the plans available.
Designate and mark out travel paths around the site away from overhead powerlines. These can be used for moving ladders or long objects, and operating tip trucks, elevated platforms, drilling or excavating machinery, backhoes etc.
Use visual indicators such as tiger tails, signage, spray paint or bunting to highlight the presence of overhead powerlines, underground cables and electrical infrastructure.
Use range-limiting devices on excavators and cranes to assist in maintaining clearances from powerlines.
Avoid contact with the point of attachment (where the power comes into a building). If you cannot maintain the required clearances, arrange for a power outage by phoning Endeavour Energy on 131 081.
Assign an observer, whose only job is to monitor and ensure safe clearances are maintained between operating machinery and powerlines.
Report any exposed cables and powerlines to Endeavour Energy on 131 003.
It is important to remember that tiger tails and covers are not insulators and their presence does not mean you can work closer to powerlines. They simply provide a visual indicator to alert people to the presence of powerlines. Under no circumstances do they make powerlines safe to touch.
More information about safe work practices and safety clearances from overhead powerlines and underground cables is available in the Safe Work Australia and WorkCover NSW Codes of Practice:
When digging, please remember:
- Just because there are overhead powerlines doesn’t mean there aren’t underground cables as well
- Cable depths can vary greatly. Don’t assume cable depths are consistent as tree roots, water, soil subsidence and human interaction can all cause changes over time
- Excavation around street lighting, padmount substations (large, usually green boxes) or pillar boxes (small, usually green or cream boxes) must be avoided until guidance has been obtained from the electricity network provider
If you are in doubt about whether you should be working near powerlines, want more information regarding safe clearance distances, or need information on safe digging techniques, contact Endeavour Energy on 131 081 or visit the Dial Before You Dig website: www.1100.com.au
Electrical safety for the emergency services
Those working in our emergency services are faced with a multitude of hazards on their job sites. One which must be known about, but can often be overlooked, is the risk posed by damaged electrical equipment.
We provide specific advice for these workers here: Advice for Emergency Services workers
Electrical hazard awareness videos
Endeavour Energy has worked with Ausgrid, Essential Energy and Ergon Energy to develop Electrical hazard awareness videos to help keep you safe at work. These important safety tools highlight the hazards of working near overhead powerlines and underground cables and provide guidance on safe practices.
- Watch Electrical Hazard Awareness for Urban Workers
- Watch Electrical Hazard Awareness for Rural Workers
- Watch Electrical Hazard Awareness for the Emergency Services
Endeavour Energy has also developed a range of brochures and other collateral to help keep you safe on the job. Click on the links to download them in PDF format:
- Safety on the Job
- Safety Clearances for Pilots
- Electrical Safety Information for Builders and Construction Workers
- Electrical Safety Information for High Load Vehicles
- Electrical Safety Information for Plumbers
- Danger in the Pipeline
- High load sticker
You can also visit the WorkCover NSW and Safe Work Australia websites to download Codes of Practice that offer practical advice, guidance and preventative strategies to help mitigate and manage workplace risks to health and safety:
Are you qualified to do electrical work?
Please remember, carrying out your own electrical work without proper qualifications is not wise, breaks the law, and could cause serious injury or death. All electrical wiring work, including the connection and technical maintenance of fixed appliances, must be carried out by a licensed electrical contractor.
Naturally, you should always follow the manufacturer's electrical directions for using and maintaining these appliances.
You’ll find more information on electrical dos and don’ts check on the Fair Trading website:
Information for ASPs and Contractors
Are you an ASP or contractor who wants to work on the Endeavour Energy network?
All workers who need to work on or near the electricity network, whether they be Endeavour Energy staff, Accredited Service Providers (ASPs) or contractors working for Endeavour Energy, must be authorised for the task that they are performing. If you require further information on how to become Authorised please contact the Endeavour Energy Authorisations team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be authorised to work on or near Endeavour Energy’s network, you will need to attend training related to the work you will undertake. You will then need to submit evidence of your qualifications, and training to the Authorisations team, along with certification from your employer that you are competent to carry out the tasks that you will be authorised to perform. Once all of this is received by the authorisations section you will be sent a “Network Access Authorisation Card” showing your authorisation to work on or near the network. You must carry this card whenever you are working on our network.
To be authorised to work on Endeavour Energy’s network, you must be either:
- Directly employed by Endeavour Energy
- Employed by a company under contract to Endeavour Energy to carry out work
- Employed by a company accredited to carry out contestable works under the NSW Accredited Service Provider scheme.
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If you will be undertaking customer funded contestable works on the network, your employer must be accredited by the NSW Department of Industry under the NSW Accredited Service Provider Scheme.
Information on the ASP accreditation scheme can be found here.
Electrical Safety Rules
As part of this authorisation, all workers must receive annual training in the Endeavour Energy Electrical Safety Rules. For more information on the Electrical Safety Rules and how they are applied, please contact the Electrical Safety team at Electrical.Safety@endeavourenergy.com.au.
Or download a copy of the Rules here: Endeavour Energy Electrical Safety Rules
And click here to download a copy of all of the procedures associated with Endeavour Energy's Electrical Safety Rules.
Endeavour Energy acquires electricity easements so we can maintain and safely operate our network. Whether you own or rent a property, you need to know what you can and cannot do in electricity easements.
Answers to your questions about easements
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about what you can and cannot do in an Endeavour Energy easement, and who you can contact to obtain further information.
What are electricity easements?
To maintain the safety and reliability of our network, electricity easements grant Endeavour Energy access rights to enter property and to control the use of land near powerlines, underground cables and substations.
An easement will be defined and registered on your property title.
There are also statutory rights under section 53 of the Electricity Supply Act 1995 that cover electricity works built before 2006 without an easement.
Why are easements necessary?
Easements help protect the safety of the residents living, working and playing near powerlines. They help prevent serious incidents that could cause injury or even death.
Easements are also created to give Endeavour Energy’s workers clear access to operate, maintain and upgrade sections of our network on land we do not own.
It is important to keep the easement clear at all times so regular maintenance, line upgrades, damage or technical faults can be attended to immediately.
How do I know if there are easements on my property?
It is important to be aware of easements and to know how they affect the use of your property. Contact your solicitor or the Land Titles office to find out details of easements on your property.
Alternatively, you can contact us at email@example.com.
How does an electricity easement affect what I can do with my property?
An easement affects the use of your property by controlling what you can build, what size trees you can plant and what outdoor activities you can carry out on the easement.
Property owners must allow Endeavour Energy staff to reach powerlines, transformers and other network equipment that is located within an electricity easement on their property, at all times.
Do not place structures within the easement which prevent workers, vehicles and equipment from moving along the easement. This access is very important when customers are without power because that section of the network requires repair.
In particular, there should be no obstruction around powerlines, transformers, poles or supporting stay wires.
What activities are permitted within an electricity easement?
This is what you can do in powerline easements:
- planting trees, shrubs and plants that will not exceed three metres in height when fully grown in overhead easements
- carrying out normal farming, grazing and cropping activities, that do not impact the electrical assets
- operating mobile plant and equipment that does not exceed a maximum height of four metres when fully extended
- storing non-combustible materials up to a maximum height of 4.3 metres if not climbable or 2.5 metres if climbable
What activities are not permitted within an electricity easement?
Within an electricity easement, you are never allowed to:
- construct permanent buildings or fixed plant and equipment
- store combustible materials, garbage or fallen timber
- plant large trees that grow in excess of three metres
- drive fence posts or stakes in easements with underground electricity cables
- install unapproved third party utilities such as telecommunications, gas, water or sewerage services
Before any work commences, written approval is required from Endeavour Energy. If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What about padmount substation easements (in underground areas)?
The surface of an easement around a padmount substation can be finished with material that can be easily removed and restored such as grass, wood chips and gravel.
Vegetation should not be planted in close proximity to padmount substations that may restrict access for operation and maintenance. Contact us on 133 718 should you require further information regarding safe planting distances.
For safety and maintenance reasons there are restrictions on the building and use of metal fences and the location of swimming pools near padmount substations.
Exclusion zones may be in place and typically vary from four to thirty metres, but depend on individual circumstances.
The extent of the restriction zones can be found by contacting your local council or an Endeavour Energy Easements Officer on 133 718.
Can I get permission to use the easement?
If you are going to carry out any development, whether or not it requires approval from your local council, check with us to see if the electricity easement will be affected.
Before any work commences, written approval is required from Endeavour Energy.
Please note that a local council building permit is not sufficient approval to undertake work in an Endeavour Energy easement without our written consent.
You will save time and money if you contact us at email@example.com before planning or undertaking any work.
What if I have already built something on the easement without permission?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have easement information for developers?
Where network assets are constructed on private property under the customer funded contestable works process, Endeavour Energy has a right of access to carry out maintenance and other operational activities.
We do this by securing property tenure, for example by creating an easement.
The requirements for property tenures are outlined in our Connections Policy.
Accredited Service Providers can read about additional technical requirements for establishing easements in the relevant Endeavour Energy Standard.
You can read an overview of our requirements for the establishment of property tenure here: Property Tenure Guidelines for Contestable Works
Where can the line be drawn on safety clearances from electricity assets?
Awareness of minimum safety clearances from powerlines and other electrical assets could mean the difference between a safe, successful and well managed project and a fatal accident.
You may also save time and money on your project by checking that the design of your home or building complies with important safety requirements without additional measures being taken.
We have developed a brochure to inform anyone working on or around buildings or worksites near our network of the safe distances that must be maintained from our network assets, whether they are overhead or underground. You can download a copy here.