Be prudent when pruning to avoid electrical hazards near trees

  • Home owners urged to hire professionals to trim trees near power lines
  • Hazards include electric shock, arcing, fire and falls
  • Vegetation should be kept 2m clear of most urban power lines

As Western Australians tidy up their gardens for summer, the State’s electrical safety regulator has issued a reminder about rules and responsibilities for trimming trees near overhead power lines.

Building and Energy is encouraging home owners to engage suitably qualified arborists to manage vegetation on their property near power lines.

In February, a Melbourne man tragically died while trimming a dead tree at his property. According to Energy Safe Victoria, the man was most likely electrocuted after equipment made contact with power lines.

As a general rule, vegetation in urban areas in WA must be kept at least two metres clear next to and beneath distribution power lines. Trees should not overhang the lines.

Owners or occupiers are responsible for ensuring vegetation growing inside their property boundary is clear of nearby power lines and electrical service cables attached to their house or building.

WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said property owners should not attempt to trim trees themselves near live electrical infrastructure.

“As well as the dangers of electric shock, arcing or fire, there are also fall risks,” he said.

“Branches, tools and other objects can conduct electricity, while overhead wires can still be dangerous even without direct contact.

“Vegetation workers must have specialist training to work within three metres of most urban power lines, so the public should keep this distance at a minimum.”

According to WA’s Electricity Regulations, paid vegetation workers and their equipment cannot enter the “danger zone” around power lines unless they comply with Building and Energy’s Code of Practice, which outlines minimum safety and training requirements.

A three-metre danger zone applies around power lines carrying electricity at 33,000 volts or less. These distribution lines are the most common type around urban properties.

High-voltage transmission lines, carrying more than 33,000 volts, have a six-metre danger zone.

Building and Energy’s Guidelines for the management of vegetation near power lines (available at has more information on clearance zones and responsibilities for different power lines, properties and vegetation types.

For vegetation workers, the Code of Practice for vegetation worker electrical safety is also available online along with a worker’s guide, training information and an online assessment.


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Building and Energy
Media release
07 Dec 2022

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