From left, Scott Brown and Kane Scott from Ballina Scaffold, Paul Irwin from NSW Work Cover, and Ken Armstrong and Mick Dutton from Essential Energy, promoting the importance of safety around powerlines.
From left, Scott Brown and Kane Scott from Ballina Scaffold, Paul Irwin from NSW Work Cover, and Ken Armstrong and Mick Dutton from Essential Energy, promoting the importance of safety around powerlines. Cathy Adams

Power safety workshop for scaffolders and roofers

CONFUSION among local scaffolders and roofers about working safely near powerlines has prompted WorkCover NSW to put on a special workshop for the local industry in Ballina next Friday.

WorkCover Ballina district co-ordinator Paul Irwin said the workshop would provide life-saving education on the correct approach to working around electricity networks.

"You don't need to come in contact with powerlines to receive an electric shock or arc flash burns," Mr Irwin said.

"That's why it's important that workers, equipment, material and plant remain at safe distances from overhead and underground electric lines."

Mr Irwin said the workshop was designed to raise industry standards and would address safety issues around working at heights.

Under the industry code of practice, scaffolders and roofers must contact local network provider - Essential Energy - for a site inspection before they begin work.

But it is understood some contractors may avoid paying the cost of the inspection to try to keep quotes as low as possible.

"Under work health and safety laws, workplaces must have systems in place to prevent workers being shocked or electrocuted," Mr Irwin said.

"A safety plan should be developed for all work involving high-risk plant including the use of safe working distances between plant and high-voltage powerlines.

"We encourage all local scaffolders and roofers to attend next month's workshop to learn how they can keep their workers safe when working near powerlines."

The workshop is being run in collaboration with Essential Energy and the Ballina Shire Council.

Electrical hazard awareness

The workshop will be held at the Lennox Head Community Centre on Friday, March 7, from 7.30am-noon.

Tops include:

  • Clearance distances to live powerlines
  • Hoardings (insulation) around powerlines
  • The role of tiger tails around powerlines
  • Managing the risks of falls

Phone WorkCover Ballina's district office on 6620 6900


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