When work is planned near overhead or underground power lines, it's crucial to consider the safe limits of approach that must be maintained.
While limits of approach vary depending on system voltage and the training and experience of the worker, follow these general guidelines for working safely near power lines:
- Take steps to learn the limits of approach for you and your equipment
- Mark the location of all power lines on worksite plans and drawings
- Use a spotter to ensure that equipment never gets closer than the safe limit of approach distance
- Keep any workers who aren't directly involved in the work being performed at least 10 metres away
- Be aware that the height of overhead power lines can change over time as temperatures rise and fall, affecting safe limits of approach
- If a job requires workers or equipment to infringe on the safe limits of approach, contact your local utility company before any work begins
In cases where the voltage is unknown, always maintain a clearance of at least 7 metres from any overhead power lines and locate all underground utilities before you dig.
|Operating Voltage of Overhead Power Line Between Conductors||Safe Limit of Approach Distance for Person and Equipment|
|0 - 750 Volts of insulated or polyethylene covered connectors ¹||300 millimetres|
|0 - 750 Volts bare, uninsulated||1.0 metres|
|Above 750 Volts insulated conductors ¹, ²||1.0 metres|
|0.75 kV to 40 kV||3.0 metres|
|69 kV, 72 kV||3.5 metres|
|138 kV, 144 kV||4.0 metres|
|230 kV, 260 kV||5.0 metres|
|500 kV||7.0 metres|
|500 kV DC Pole-Ground||7.0 metres|
- Conductors must be insulated throughout their entire length to comply with these groups.
- Conductors must be manufactured to rated and tested insulation levels
As required by the OHS code, your employer is responsible for making sure that everyone on the worksite is aware of any hazards associated with working near energized power lines, as well as the safe limits of approach.