Web Map Reduces Accidental Power Line Contacts by 33 Percent
Industry - Electric
User - Energy Queensland
Challenge - The agricultural, aviation, and construction industries face major hazards due to their equipment being in close proximity to electrical hazards. People were not planning well for work around electrical lines.
Solution - ArcGIS, ArcGIS Online
Result - In the first year, the utility saw a 33 percent reduction in agricultural accidental contacts. Energy Queensland is confident that this app will continue to save lives and reduce property damage and service interruptions to electric customers.
Energy Queensland serves over 2.3 million electric utility customers across 1.8 million square kilometers of northeastern Australia. Because safety is a critical priority, Energy Queensland leveraged geographic information system (GIS) technology in a sweeping hazard awareness program called Look Up and Live. "Look up and live" is a phrase every electrical line worker knows. It reminds people to stop, look up, and be fully aware of the hazards working around power lines.
Most of the utility's infrastructure is overhead construction. Across the Queensland service territory, vehicles and equipment struck power lines an average of 800 times each year, resulting in property damage and serious or fatal injuries. The problem was growing, and incidents were becoming more frequent.
The agricultural, aviation, and construction industries face major hazards due to their equipment being in close proximity to electrical hazards. People were not planning well for work around electrical lines. The utility needed a better way to communicate effectively, particularly with workers in these at-risk industries.
The utility launched a public web map www.lookupandlive.com.au to help people plan how to work safely around power lines. Line location and voltage are clearly displayed with roads and property lines. A variety of user-selectable base maps, including satellite imagery, enables quick orientation of the work area.
The app easily shares infrastructure data through Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online. This promotes collaboration by conveniently exposing detailed information to the public. Users can locate an area, sketch their work site on the map, share a link to a specific view, or print the map for reference. The app also provides links to safety information and requests for services from Energy Queensland like having the power disconnected or requesting visibility markers to be installed.
The solution is conceptually similar to the 811 Call before You Dig service for underground work. It enables workers to learn the precise location of power lines when planning their work and take steps to avoid them. Now operators of cranes, grain augers, or aerial spraying aircraft access this information in advance to plan safe and accident-free operations.
The app was immediately embraced by equipment operators, farmers, truck drivers, and pilots alike as an authoritative source of indispensable safety information. In the first year, the utility saw a 33 percent reduction in agricultural accidental contacts. Energy Queensland is confident that this app will continue to save lives and reduce property damage and service interruptions to electric customers.
With over 25,000 views per year, the Look Up and Live app encourages workers to plan ahead and use an observer near power lines. Electrical contact accidents drop to zero when an observer is present. The Aerial Application Association of Australia was so impressed it awarded its 2019 Leyland Snow Innovation Award to this effort. Furthermore, the application was awarded the 2019 Best Solution to an Identified Electrical Issue Award by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
The Energy Queensland safety team is actively promoting this valuable safety tool to ensure that all workers plan accordingly when working near power lines to reduce accidental contact and save lives.
Power lines are such an integral part of our lives that most of us pass them every day without even noticing them, which is not a problem until your life depends on it. This app is saving lives.