The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 sets out some requirements for those working near electric lines.
It recommends 'exclusion zones' or areas close to lines where people are not allowed to enter. These zones vary depending on whether you're classified as an 'Authorised Person (Electrical or Non-Electrical)', an 'Instructed Person' or an 'Untrained Person'.
Authorised Person (Electrical)
An Authorised Person (Electrical) is permitted to work closer to the electric lines than an Untrained Person due their knowledge and competencies (refer Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2020 Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines Appendix B Exclusion Zones for Overhead Electric Lines).
What an Authorised Person (Electrical) is allowed to do
An electrical mechanic who holds a current Queensland electrical mechanic licence and is approved as an Authorised Person (Electrical) can:
- Remove and replace Low Voltage (LV) service fuses when a customer's LV service line needs to be isolated to eliminate the exclusion zone around the LV service line, or to work on the customer's mains and/or switchboard
- Isolate a customer's LV service line at an underground service pillar or service pole by removing a fuse wedge(s) from a service line, in accordance with electricity industry practices ie, from ground level using appropriate insulated tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and insulating mats.
In those situations where the service fuse/circuit breaker is not located or accessible at the supply end of the LV service line, the Authorised Person (Electrical) needs to contact the Distributor to either arrange for isolation of the customers premise, or arrange for a Safety Advice where removal of the exclusion zone around the LV service line is required.
Please note: Any controls used by the Authorised Person (Electrical), to confirm isolation and ensure supply to the customer's installation is not inadvertently re-energised, must comply with sections 14 and 15 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.
What an Authorised Person (Electrical) is not permitted to do
An Authorised Person (Electrical) is not allowed to:
- Replace a blown LV service fuse/s after loss of supply to a customer's connection.
- Replace an LV service fuse that has been removed by the Distributor
- Alter, remove or relocate the Distributor’s overhead LV service line or LV pillar connections
- Climb or work aloft on our poles or electricity assets.
Authorised Person (Non-Electrical)
An Authorised Person (Non-Electrical) does not hold a Queensland electrical mechanic licence, however has enough technical knowledge and experience to do non-electrical work that involves being near electric lines and has been approved by us to work near electric lines.
Applying to become an Authorised Person (Electrical)
To become an Authorised Person (Electrical), the employer/self-employed person must first satisfy the Person in Control of the electric line (Ergon Energy Corporation Limited), that their applicants have the required competencies.
Step 1 - Check technical knowledge and experience
Ensure that all persons to be approved as Authorised Persons have an appropriate level of technical knowledge and experience to do the work. This includes the operation of plant or vehicle near to the electric lines, and demonstrated competencies in the following areas:
- Complying with the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2020 for Working Near Overhead and Underground Electrical Lines and Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2013 for Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace (safe system of work)
- Identifying low voltage and high voltage electric lines (including ways of determining the voltage present)
- Distinguishing between insulated and uninsulated electric lines
- Understanding the possible causes and risks of electric lines being damaged
- Demonstrating the skills and knowledge needed to implement a safe system of work
- Demonstrating understanding of the unsafe distances and exclusion zone requirements
- Applying emergency procedures in the event of an incident.
The following recognised training courses are available through approved Registered Training Organisations to assist Applicants to meet the above requirements.
- Esitrain – Energex M320 Electrical Awareness for Safe Work or Ergon 4490 Working Safely Near Live Electrical Lines and Apparatus courses
- Esitrain training material (M320 or SWNELP) that is delivered by an approved external training providers under a Licence Agreement
- National Unit of Competency (UETTDREL14A - Working safely near live electrical apparatus as a non-electrical worker) and the completion of the online course T0790 Introduction to QLD Legislation and Codes of Practice.
Step 2 - Submit application form
The employer/self-employed person must submit the request via the online Authorised Person Application Form.
Before the nominated Applicants can perform the role of Authorised Person, we must provide approval in writing to the employer or self-employed person which is valid for 5 years. It is the responsibility of the applicant to manage the renewal of this authorisation.
Authorised Person approval is only valid for a person while they remain with the employer for which the Authorised Person application was approved.
Note: The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 does not place any requirement on the Person in Control (Ergon Network for assets under our control) to be satisfied with the technical knowledge and experience of the person being approved. The responsibility for this and for compliance with statutory requirements is with an employer/self-employed person. (Refer to the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 and Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines for further detail).
An Instructed Person is a person who is acting under the supervision of an Authorised Person for the electric line.
An Untrained Person is a person who is not an Authorised Person or an Instructed Person for the electric line.
If you are unsure that you can meet your obligations under the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013, you can contact us for safety advice with having the lines de-energised, relocated, installed underground, or having insulated or physical barriers or visual indicators installed at your worksite.
Costs will apply for these services and details will be provided to you following a site inspection carried out by us.
Getting safety advice
The Person, Worker or Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must contact us and request written Safety Advice where, following their risk assessment and control measures implementation1 at the worksite, it’s been found that exclusion zones from overhead electric lines cannot be maintained during the works.
Until we have provided written Safety Advice, the Person, Worker or PCBU must maintain exclusion zones at the worksite.
Please note: A Person, Worker or PCBU would not need to contact us and request written Safety Advice where their risk assessment and implemented control measures ensure that exclusion zones from overhead electric lines will be maintained during the works at the site.
For more information
For more detailed information please read our Electricity Entity Requirements – Working Near overhead and underground electric lines (PDF 725.9 kb) (PDF 725.9 kb) or email email@example.com.
1 Any control measures implemented at the worksite must be in accordance with the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2020 - Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines and Electricity Entity Requirements: working near overhead and underground electric lines.