If you work in the road transport industry, there’s a chance you might come into contact with our electricity assets while you’re on the road. Especially if you’re carrying a high load. To stay safe, look out for electrical hazards and practice safe work habits when planning, loading and driving to your destination.
Understanding the risks
Unfortunately, workers in the road transport industry have the highest rates of accidental contact with our poles, wires and pillar boxes. Electrical accidents cause serious injuries and can damage your load or vehicle.
Trucking activities with higher risks include:
- driving vehicles with high load (over 4.6m)
- loading or unloading your vehicle by hand, or using cranes or forklifts
- working aloft on your vehicle while tying down loads, fastening tarps or checking livestock.
How to work safe
Before you start work, make sure you ‘take care stay line aware’. Use a simple risk management process like the one below to identify electrical hazards, assess risks and plan safe work habits.
1. Identify electrical hazards
Before you transport a load, unload your vehicle, exit your vehicle or climb aloft, take time to identify any electrical hazards in the area. These are objects or tasks that could cause damage or injury, like a power pole or using a loading dock near powerlines.
To spot hazards:
- Check the location of powerlines and other electrical infrastructure by
- Check the height of your load and any nearby overhead powerlines
- Check for changing conditions that could create new hazards, like
- Heat that causes powerlines to sag, reducing clearance
- High winds that cause lines to sway or fall
- Lower light at dawn/dusk that reduces visibility
- Damaged power poles that reduce clearance.
- Check that your vehicle and machinery is in good working order, with no signs of damage.
IMPORTANT: Stay well clear of damaged powerlines and report them immediately by calling triple zero (000).
2. Use safe work habits
If you can’t eliminate a hazard, you can use safe work habits to reduce the risk as much as possible. These include:
- identifying hazards using the steps above any time you exit your vehicle, or go aloft
- carrying out maintenance and storage activities well away from powerlines
- always lowering plant to the transport position when moving or relocating
- not using ‘bumpers’ or poly pipe to keep wires from snagging the load
- ensuring machinery is checked after contact with overhead wires
- never attempting to manually measure the height of an overhead powerline. Instead, call us on 13 74 66
Safe work habits for transporting high loads
A high load is any loaded vehicle taller than 4.6m. At this height, there’s a chance your load could contact overhead powerlines when you’re on the road.
Because of the safety risks, you must get written authorisation from us before you transport a high load. Submit a Notification to Transport High Load form (DOCX 103.1 kb) to advise us of the high load involved, the intended route and the times for transport.
High loads come in all shapes and sizes - the one thing they have in common is the possibility of coming into contact with live overhead powerlines. If the height of your vehicle or load is over 4.6 metres you are transporting a high load and are at risk.
If you intend to transport a high load, you must comply with the Electrical Safety Code of Practice.
This means before taking the journey with a high load, you must submit a Notification to Transport High Load form. This form lets us know the details of what you are transporting, the route you are taking, and the timeframe you are going to be travelling in.
Once we’ve reviewed your submission, we’ll issue an authorisation to travel. You must have this document in writing before you can transport a high load.
When planning and travelling, take the time to spot any electrical hazards. Locate overhead powerlines visually or use our Look Up And Live app. Make sure you note the different exclusion zone distances for operating plant and vehicles.
You should also be on the lookout for changing conditions that could affect your journey and create new hazards. These could include sagging powerlines caused by heat on a hot day, high winds causing lines to sway or fall, visibility being affected by the time of day you are travelling, and any damage to poles or infrastructure that could affect clearance heights.
Remember to also check for poles and overhead powerlines before climbing on top of your vehicle. The extra height gained could put you into a powerline exclusion zone, even if your load is not.
Before starting work take the time to plan.
Visit our website or contact us for more information about transporting high loads and working safely around powerlines.
Want more information?
If you have more questions, you might find answers in our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 124.2 kb).
Safety fact sheets
Download our fact sheets for information about working safe:
- Trucking industry (PDF 1.4 mb)
- Look Up and Live – Exclusion zones (PDF 614.2 kb)
- Building and Construction industries (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Structures and Billboards near powerlines (PDF 1.4 mb)
To order factsheets in industry packs, use our brochure & sticker order form.
We offer training sessions to help your team work safely near overhead and underground powerlines. These sessions can be targeted for conferences, business groups, local councils or emergency services groups. Topics include exclusion zones, safety observer zones and how to safely operate plant and vehicles near powerlines.
Other forms and guidelines
Links to some popular request forms and information.