Construction Safety

Machinery near powerlines

We provide advice to the building industry, councils, Accredited Service Providers, electrical contractors and any other organisations or individuals working near the overhead and underground electricity network.

Before you start work

There are two considerations prior to starting works near electrical infrastructure.

  1. What clearances need to be maintained for structures, activities or objects within electricity easements or clearance zones, and
  2. Construction work near electrical infrastructure may need approval by Essential Energy before you start.

Regardless of whether local council approval is required e.g. Exempt, Complying or Development Application and any NSW State approved projects, it is essential to confirm that the proposed work does not encroach on statutory safety clearances.

If you are working or operating equipment near powerlines or electricity network equipment, you will need to assess the risk of inadvertent contact with the electricity network. Before work you should submit a Request for Safety Advice and we will assess your request and provide safety services where required to ensure that working near electrical equipment can be done safely.

Plan ahead to stay safe – stay clear when powerlines are near

  • Make sure everyone on your worksite knows where the powerlines are and what the required clearances are
  • Assess your worksite for potential hazards and consider the work you are doing
  • Submit a Request for Safety Advice if your work will occur near the network or cannot maintain the safe working clearances set out in the Working Near Overhead Powerlines Code of Practice, or CEOP8041 - Work Near Essential Energy's Underground Assets
  • Assess the risks and consider ways to mitigate or minimise the risks
  • Never use tools or appliances with damaged power cords
  • Don't use power tools in wet or damp areas
  • Make sure you wear proper footwear at work. An electric shock is more likely to be fatal if you're working with bare feet
  • Prior to digging or excavating, ensure that you have carried out and have a copy of a current Before You Dig Australia plan and you understand whether there are underground powerlines in the vicinity of your job. If so, you must know their location (this may require the services of a locator). Implement a plan by referring to CEOP8041, and if you are unable to maintain safe approach distances, contact us.
  • Before using any machinery, always check for powerlines when setting the machinery up and prior to extending it. Make sure all equipment or machinery is fully lowered before moving off

Development Application Information

Read more about the process on our Development Applications page.

Submitting a request for safety advice

You need to make a request for safety advice for all work that cannot maintain the safe working clearances set out in the Working Near Overhead Powerlines Code of Practice (found on SafeWork NSW for sites in NSW, or WorkCover QLD – Electrical Safety Office for sites in Queensland) or CEOP8041 – Work Near Essential Energy’s Underground Assets.

Whenever possible, we will need at least two weeks’ notice before work commences. The following may be included as part of the recommendation:

Please note, some services may incur a cost and estimates for costs will be provided following a review of the work.

Look up and Live

Identify the location of overhead and underground powerlines on your property using the Look Up and Live app. Look Up and Live has made overhead powerline locations and imagery available to the public online, at no cost, via an interactive geospatial map. The app provides the ability to search locations in real time and to overlay maps with third party mapping programs, or print, as required. Visit

What to do if something goes wrong

If your machinery or equipment comes into contact with the overhead or underground electricity network it’s important you know how to respond.

  • Stay in your vehicle and call 000 immediately
  • If escape is absolutely necessary, jump well clear to avoid contact with the vehicle and ground at the same time
  • When you jump land with your feet together. Do not touch the vehicle, fall or allow your feet to step apart
  • You must shuffle or jump, with your feet together until you are at least 8 metres clear of the vehicle, powerlines or anything else in contact with them
  • Once clear, do not return to the vehicle for any reason
  • Call us on 132080
  • Remember to never approach a vehicle to assist in an evacuation and always treat powerlines as if they are ‘live’.

Order safety collateral

Essential Energy can provide free safety stickers for use in vehicles and machinery – which can serve as a great reminder of what to do if your vehicle contacts powerlines and can also be used to record the height of your machinery in raised and lowered positions.
Order safety collateral

For more information email or call 132391 and ask to speak to a member of the Public Safety team.