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Vehicles and mobile plant (including irrigators) working near overhead electric lines can damage the line and be hazardous for the plant operator, the mobile plant and people in the vicinity.

MainPower requires any mobile plant working near power lines to meet the requirements of section 5 of the New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances (NZECP 34:2001).

These rules are a legal requirement to ensure the safety of the general public and those working near power lines.

Key rules are sections:

5.2.1      The distance between any live overhead electric line and any part of any mobile plant or load carried shall be “AT LEAST 4.0 METRES”, unless the operator has received written consent from the overhead electric line owner allowing a reduced distance.

5.3.1      Mobile plant or any load carried shall not operate above the conductors of any overhead electric line unless the operator has received written consent from the overhead electric line owner to work above the overhead electric line.

Apply online for a Close Approach Consent
Apply online for a High Load Consent

Boating Safety
Boat operators should ensure they are always aware of power lines and cables while on the water and at boat ramps. Always remember to:

  • Look for signs which make the location of underwater cables before dropping anchor.
  • Remain vigilant for overhead power lines if your boat has a mast.
  • Lower your mast at the boat ramp before heading home.

Aircraft safety - wire strike
Since 1979, New Zealand helicopter pilots have had 116 wire strikes, resulting in 28 deaths. Any aircraft flying below 500 ft is at risk of a wire strike, but helicopters are especially susceptible due to the nature of the work they do. Wire strike is preventable, but only with a well-planned safety programme to identify hazards and put mitigations in place. For more information, see the fact sheet produced by Worksafe's Safer Farms programme, or visit the Civil Aviation Authority website.

Lines Down Means Danger

Bad weather and vehicle accidents can bring lines down. Stay well clear of fallen power lines and warn others of the danger. Keep animals out of the way and always assume lines are live. If you are inside a vehicle involved in an accident, stay in the vehicle and phone MainPower for assistance.

If you are outside the vehicle

  • Stay clear of power lines (at least 10 metres).
  • Warn others of the danger.
  • Call 111.

If you are inside the vehicle

  • If you can do so safely, drive well clear of the power line or source of electricity. Carefully drive to a safe distance from all electrical hazards before exiting the vehicle.
  • The safest thing you can do is stay in your vehicle until emergency crews arrive to assist you.
  • If the vehicle cannot move for any reason and you need to exit the vehicle because of a life-threatening danger (such as fire) evacuation can be on to an insulated platform, for example a layer of several rubber car mats, layers of dry clothing (beware of metal attachments such as zips), dry timber pallets, layers of plastic sheeting or other insulating materials. Occupants must exit the vehicle by jumping on to the insulated platform so there is no possibility of simultaneous contact with the vehicle and the ground.

For more information read the Look Up, Look Out fact sheet.