Scaffolding near power lines

Electrical Safety Measures for Scaffolders: Upright South Island Scaffolding Company

Electrical Safety Measures for Scaffolders: Upright South Island Scaffolding Company

As a scaffolder, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers posed by electrical lines. 

Because of the nature of the work, there is a greater risk of coming into contact with them.

A recent workplace accident in New Zealand has highlighted the need for safety measures when working with scaffolding near electrical lines. In the incident, a young man lost both of his arms due to a scaffold pole striking powerlines serves as a tragic reminder of the need for caution when working near electrical equipment.

To help prevent similar accidents in the future, as a leader of health and safety protocols for scaffolders in the South Island; we felt the need to share our best practice and safety measures for working near electrical lines:

Health and Safety Measures for Scaffolders around Electrical Lines 

1. Site Checked for Overhead Lines Prior to Works

The employer’s responsibility is to ensure that a competent person checks the site for overhead power lines before any work commencing that could bring the scaffold into contact with them.

This should be carried out as part of the site safety induction process.

2. Work at a Safe Distance from Overhead Lines

The safe working distance from an overhead power line will depend on the voltage of the line. For example, for an 11kV line, the safe working distance is 1.2 metres from the nearest point of the scaffold to the line.

3. Use Insulating Materials and Equipment

Use insulating materials and equipment to create a barrier between you and the electrical line. For example, you could use an insulated scaffold pole or an insulating mat.

By the way, what things do you need to insulate your body from the electrical line?

Scaffolding near power lines

Scaffolding near power lines

  • An insulated scaffold pole.
  • An insulating mat.
  • Insulated gloves.
  • An insulated safety harness.
  • Tools with insulated handles.

4. Be Aware of the Risks Posed by Wet Conditions

Wet conditions can increase the risk of electrical shock, so it’s essential to be extra cautious when working in wet weather. If possible, try to avoid working near electrical lines during wet weather.

5. Use a Spotter When Required

If you can’t avoid working near electrical lines, have a spotter with you. The spotter’s job is to keep an eye on the lines and make sure that you stay a safe distance away from them.

6. Ensure the Consent Card Is Viewable

If you’re working on a construction site with overhead power lines, the site should have a ‘consent card’ visible to all workers. The consent card will state the safe working distance from the lines. Make sure to check the card before starting work.

7. Communicate with Staff and Management

If you have any concerns about working near electrical lines, communicate with your staff and management. They should be able to provide you with the relevant safety information and equipment.

8. Add Orange Mesh to Limit Access

If you’re working on a scaffold close to electrical lines, adding orange mesh to the structure is a good idea. This will help limit access to the scaffold and prevent people from coming into contact with the lines.


9. Wearing Appropriate PPE

When working near electrical lines, it’s essential to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes gloves, goggles, and a hard hat.

10. Follow Instructions

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up and using scaffolding. If you’re unsure how to do something, ask a supervisor or another experienced worker for help.

Consequences of Not Following Safety Measures 

If scaffolders do not follow the safety measures outlined above, they could be seriously injured or killed. In an accident, the employer could be held liable for the serious injury.

Working near electrical lines is a dangerous job, but it can be done safely if the proper precautions are taken. By following the safety measures, scaffolders can help to prevent accidents and keep themselves safe.

If you are looking for scaffolding solutions that consider electrical safety, get in touch with the Upright Scaffolding South Island scaffolding company team. We can provide you with suitable scaffolds for your project. Our team of experienced scaffolders in the construction industry will ensure that it is erected safely and in compliance with all regulations.

Get in touch today to find out more about our service.


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