Farm Guide VIC : 2014-15
74 FarmSafety Watch out for country powerlines • SWER powerlines are common in rural areas and are often hard to see as there is only one thin wire and the poles can be hundreds of metres apart. • SWER lines operate at 12,700 volts and any contact with the line may be fatal or cause serious, permanent injuries. • Moisture in trees can conduct electricity if branches touch or are too close to powerlines. • All overhead powerlines can sag and sway with temperature changes and electrical load and can also sway in the wind. The sideways movement of long SWER spans may be many metres. • Be aware that single powerlines can be particularly difficult to see at dawn and dusk • When working near overhead powerlines always look up and live. • Make sure you understand the No Go Zone guidelines - always ensure that you, and any object that is being used, keep at least three metres away from the line. • Permit to Work permission is required from the powerline owner if work needs to be carried out within the three metre exclusion zone. • Accidental contact with overhead powerlines often involves tipping trucks, mobile grain silos and augers, headers, excavators, spray booms, irrigation pipes, elevating work platforms, scissor lifts and scaffolding, all of which have resulted in fatal or serious injury and extensive hospital treatment. • Identify all lines on your property and clearly mark their position on the fences or on posts near or under the line to help highlight their location. • If an accident does occur with a powerline, keep at least 10 metres away from any victims and do not attempt to provide assistance or you may also be electrocuted. Call 000 or your local electricity distribution company for emergency assistance. • Display Look up and live stickers on any machinery or equipment that is raised overhead. • Obtain a copy of the No Go Zone rules and study them closely. These are available at www.esv.vic. gov.au • Obtain a free copy of the Look up, Look Down – And Live DVD from ESV by visiting the above website or phoning 1800 800 158. Workers should be properly trained and qualified for the task at hand and should only cut branches that are a manageable size. In addition, workers should constantly monitor the location of tall machinery and equipment that could come into contact with powerlines. Every worker should know the No Go Zone guidelines for working near powerlines and also: • Always complete a hazard analysis before starting work • Never cut corners or start a job unless it is safe to proceed • Repeatedly check the location of powerlines while work is underway because they can lengthen, sag and sway depending on weather conditions If there is any concern regarding the safety of a tree clearing job, ESV recommends discussing it with the local electricity distributor before starting work. There are no second chances with electricity. Any contact can be fatal or cause serious, permanent injuries so make sure you always look up and live. YOU HAVE THREE METRES TO LIVE REMEMBER LOOK UP AND LIVE Stay outside the 3 metre “no go zone” around, and above, power lines. Or you could end up 6 feet under. For further information visit Energy Safe Victoria www.esv.vic.gov.au or call 03 9203 9700.