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Working Group B2.64: Inspection and Testing of Equipment and Training for Live-Line Work on Overhead Lines

Live work on electrical power infrastructure is carried out around the world at low, medium and high voltage levels. Linespersons require training, and special tools and equipment to carry out these live work activities. While there are benefits of carrying out live working in terms of improved reliability, there are also increased risks and costs.  These risks and costs will vary, depending on the rules and regulations imposed and the extent of risk mitigation employed.  With the ever-increasing pressure to improve both technical and financial performance there is a benefit in exploring practices across the world to both improve performance and to provide reassurance that risks are being managed consistent with global practices.  Working Group B2.64 has been initiated to examine these practices in relation to live line work and is currently in the process of finalising the technical brochure, which is on track for publication in 2019.  The Australian member of the Working Group is Alex Price.

Live working equipment is subjected to different inspection and testing regimes during its life including type tests at the factory, acceptance tests before the first use, on-site tests before every use and periodic tests after a pre-defined period of time. There are many different international standards and national regulations regarding the inspection and testing of different live-line working equipment. However, there is no common framework to define the different kinds of tests and the testing frequency. Consequently, the condition and certification of live-line equipment as fit for use varies significantly between countries and even between companies within the same country.

Highlights of the live-line equipment inspection and testing work undertaken and included in the technical brochure are:

  • A summary of the different stresses on tools and equipment and examples of failure modes
  • A review and comparison of testing requirements of various live work tools and equipment
  • Recommendations for testing and inspection regimes and frequency  

The education framework of linespersons undertaking live work also differs between countries. Some countries require linespersons to be authorised to complete ‘dead’ work prior to commencing additional training for certification as a live linesperson. Other countries commence live-line training of suitable individuals who have completed a minimum level of basic schooling (no prior electrical knowledge). The frequency and duration, and theoretical and practical makeup of initial and refresher training for each type of live work (e.g. rubber glove, ‘hot stick’, barehand) also differ between countries. Consistent live working education globally would potentially lead to international certification and ultimately enabling linespersons to work across countries.

Highlights of the live-line training work undertaken and included in the technical brochure are:

  • A review of the sources of live working training requirements
  • A summary of the different live working educational frameworks/approaches and their requirements
  • Suggested live working training content/structure

The work on this is near to finalisation with the Technical Brochure due out at the end of 2019.