Safety in Orchards
Beware of overhead power lines
Horticultural workers have some of the highest rates of injury and death from power lines. This is because orchards often have overhead power lines near or running through them, so there’s significant risk of you or your equipment accidentally touching the lines.
You don’t even need to touch a line to be in danger – electricity can jump through the air to your equipment and to you.
Every line must be treated as live. Always.
Following these rules can ensure everyone working in the orchard goes home safely.
Before you prune, pick, move equipment or build artificial shelter belts...
- Always keep at least 4 metres away from overhead power lines.
- Do not touch or work on any tree or vine that is touching or near power lines.
- Know where power lines are before raising platforms of hydraladas, cherry pickers, elevating work platforms or dump truck beds, and chose a route where power lines are high enough to give a least 4m clearance.
- Lower lifting equipment before moving near lines.
- Do not use wires to train vines along the same path as overhead power lines. A broken wire flicking upwards can come into contact with nearby lines.
Trees and power lines
Because orchards have lots of equipment, it’s tempting to trim or remove trees yourself or help others to do so.
If a tree is within 4m of overhead lines, you must use an approved contractor to have it trimmed. Click here for more information.
Building structures in orchards
Whether you’re having an artificial shelter belt erected or a canopy, by law you must follow the regulations that govern safety when building near overhead power lines. Click here for the mandatory requirements for building near overhead lines.