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Safety: Role of a

Safety Observer
30th March 2011

30th MARCH 2011


ISSUE 3

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OPERATIONAL PROCEDURE - Safety: Role of a Safety Observer

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P REP ARED BY:

V E GET AT IO N MANAGER

A U T HO R IS E D BY :

S T ATE MANAGER OPE RA TIONS AN D SUPP ORT SE RV ICE S

D OC UMENT N UM BE R:

C E OP 23 5 4 - I S S U E 3

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except as permitted under the copyright act.
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1

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2011 ESSENTIAL ENERGY

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CONTENTS PAGE
1

INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 4

WHY THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE IMPORTANT................................................... 4

CHALLENGES ............................................................................................... 4

THE PROCEDURES ........................................................................................ 4


4.1

Identify the need to appoint a safety observer .................................................. 4

4.2

Appointment of a Safety Observer................................................................... 5

4.3

Responsibilities of a Safety Observer ............................................................... 5

4.4

Responsibilities of plant operators ................................................................... 6

4.5

Responsibilities of the worksite controller and work team.................................... 6

4.6

Safety Observer Requirements ....................................................................... 7

KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS ....................................................................... 7

REFERENCES ............................................................................................... 8

REVISIONS.................................................................................................. 8

30th March 2011 - Issue 3


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INTRODUCTION
This guideline promotes worksite safety by providing guidance and instruction on the role
and responsibilities of a safety observer.
This document applies to all personnel who are performing works that require a safety
observer to be appointed in accordance with Essential Energys Safety, Security, Health and
Environment (SSHE) Manual CECM1000 and/or Electrical Safety Rules CEOP8030 and for
other work activities where the on site Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and
Control process identifies the need for a safety observer.
It is essential to note that a safety observer performs an exclusively dedicated duty that is
purposely assigned to ensure the safety of personnel carrying out works, Essential Energys
electrical apparatus and associated assets and the general public and property.

WHY THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE IMPORTANT


To manage worksite safety:

ENSURE the work team identifies those activities which require a safety observer to be
appointed.

CLARIFY the role and responsibilities of the safety observer and members of the work
team.

CHALLENGES
Whilst this procedure sets out the general responsibilities for worksite safety, they in no way
limit the responsibility of the worksite personnel to take all other reasonable courses of
action for worksite safety based upon the level of experience and competency of the
personnel carrying out the work activity.

THE PROCEDURES

4.1

Identify the need to appoint a safety observer


The work team in conjunction with the worksite controller are responsible for ensuring the
need to appoint a Safety Observer has been considered during the Hazard Identification,
Risk Assessment and Control process with due consideration given to:
1

The requirements of the Electrical Safety Rules.

Safe Work Method Statement & Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and
Control (SWMS & HIRAC) and/or other Essential Energy safe work procedures
relevant to the work being carried out.

The requirements of a specific site induction, such as a mine site.

Working in situations where there is an increased risk of personal injury or


damage to equipment/property.

Note: In addition to the requirements set out in this guideline, the provisions of the Code
of Practice Electrical Work, Electrical Safety Regulation 2002 Queensland and the Code of
Practice Victorian Electricity Supply Industry Distribution Businesses 2006 (the Green
Book) must be considered when personnel are working in those respective franchise areas.
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Appointment of a Safety Observer


It is the responsibility of the worksite controller to assign a member/s of the work team as
the designated safety observer/s and to document this on the associated SWMS/HIRAC
form.
Depending on the position and complexity of the work, more than one safety observer may
be required. Regardless of the number of safety observers required, at least one safety
observer must be positioned at ground level in close vicinity to the worksite at all times,
unless carrying out the works in accordance with an approved work practice, or an
alternative position in close proximity provides a greater viewing benefit.
The appointment of a safety observer must not be regarded as the sole control measure or
remove the responsibility of the other work team personnel in ensuring worksite safety.
First year apprentices, who have not previously worked in the capacity of a safety observer,
cannot perform the role of a safety observer.

4.3

Responsibilities of a Safety Observer


The safety observer is responsible for alerting the work team to any potential unsafe
conditions or lack of compliance with approved work practices, procedures or guidelines.
The safety observer/s must:
1

ENSURE they are specifically instructed in the worksite hazards applicable.

ENSURE that all personnel, plant, tools and equipment remain outside the
specified minimum safe approach distance unless performing a rescue in
accordance with approved procedures.

OBSERVE personnel carrying out the identified works.

ALERT the work team to any unsafe conditions, actions or non-conformance with
approved work procedures.

POSITION themselves at ground level in a suitable location to effectively observe


the work being performed unless another position provides greater viewing
benefit of the worksite.

NOT be positioned in the work basket of an EWP unless:

a second safety observer has been appointed who is positioned at ground


level, or

otherwise permitted by the approved work practice for the work being
carried out.

NOT observe more than one work activity or plant at any time unless working to
an approved work practice.

HAVE the authority to temporarily suspend the work at any time.

MAINTAIN effective and immediate communication with the work team at all
times.
Specialist equipment may be necessary where there is a barrier to
communication.

10

NOT use communication devices, such as mobile phones and portable radios,
unless the use of such is directly related to establishing and maintaining effective
and immediate communication with the work team being observed.

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NOT PERFORM any other work task while acting as a safety observer. The safety
observer must temporarily suspend works where required to assist the work
team, to prevent unauthorised access to the worksite, significantly change
position or for any other event that may distract their ability to carry out the role
of a safety observer. If working live, personnel are to move outside the safe
approach distances for the period that the works are temporarily suspended.

12

ENSURE they are trained and deemed competent in performing a rescue relevant
to the work being undertaken.

13

ENSURE there is no unauthorised access to the worksite whilst work is being


carried out.

14

OBSERVE the weather conditions at all times and suspend or stop the works if
conditions become unsuitable.
The safety observers role may be rotated between members of the work team,
for example to reduce fatigue.
When this occurs the rotation must be formally carried out to ensure that all
members of the work team are aware at all times who is performing the role of
the safety observer(s). The SWMS/HIRAC form must be updated to record this
change.

4.4

Responsibilities of plant operators


Where the need to appoint a safety observer has been identified during the Hazard
Identification, Risk Assessment and Control process, it is the responsibility of personnel who
operate plant in the vicinity of live electrical apparatus or critical infrastructure to:

4.5

ENSURE that a safety observer has been appointed and is in a position to


commence their role in accordance with this procedure.

MAINTAIN effective and immediate communication with the safety observer.

ENSURE plant is not operated in situations where a safety observer is required


without first communicating the intended operation of the plant with the safety
observer to ensure such operation is safe to carry out.

LISTEN actively and follow the directions of the safety observer.

ENSURE safe approach distances are not compromised unless working in


accordance with an approved work practice, such as for live line work.

Responsibilities of the worksite controller and work team


It is the responsibility of the worksite controller to:
1

INCLUDE the need to appoint a safety observer in the consultation when carrying
out the Hazard identification, Risk Assessment and Control process.

ENSURE the personnel appointed as the safety observer is nominated on the


SWMS/HIRAC form and appointed in accordance with this procedure.

INFORM and clearly instruct the safety observer as to their responsibilities in


performing the role of a safety observer.

ENSURE identification and documentation of any changes to the scope of work


once the work has commenced on the SWMS/HIRAC form including any change of
appointment of the safety observer.

ENSURE the safety observer is fully aware of the work that is to be carried out.

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It is the responsibility of all personnel in the work team to:

4.6

ENSURE the safety observer is in position to commence their role prior to the
commencement of the works.

FOLLOW and actively listen to the instructions of the safety observer.

MAINTAIN effective and immediate communication with the safety observer at all
times.

ELIMINATE distractions to their work activity; such as mobile phones.

STOP or not start the works where the role of the safety observer is not being
carried out in accordance with this procedure.

Safety Observer Requirements


In order to be appointed as a safety observer, personnel must have in the past 12 months
successfully completed:
1

Competency assessment
electrical work)

in

Essential

Energys

Electrical

Safety

Rules

(for

Competency assessment in resuscitation and rescue techniques appropriate for


the work task being carried out.

The requirements of points 1 and 2 above are to be recorded on the personnels


training and qualifications records.

KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS


Active observation: means to provide dedicated attention to the activity being carried out.
This includes the clarification of any intended movement of plant with the safety observer
prior to such movement taking place.
Critical Asset: means
a

Critical to the supply network

Significant environmental impact should, failure or damage occur

Time it would take to shut down the main is excessive, should failure or damage
occur, (waste of water)

Critical Customers are affected should, isolation, failure or damage occur.

Electrical apparatus:
means any electrical equipment (including overhead lines)
associated with the supply of electricity at high or low voltage, the conductors of which are
live or can be made live.
Employee: means a worker engaged by an employer (whether under a contract of
employment or apprenticeship) and includes a contractor or sub-contractor, and a person
employed by a contractor or sub-contractor, who carries out work for an employer.
HIRAC: means Worksite Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control. Refers
to the process whereby all foreseeable worksite hazards are identified, associated risks are
assessed; controls are put in place to minimise the risks to acceptable levels and evaluated
for effectiveness.
Live: means energised or subject to hazardous induced or capacitive voltages.
Near: means when there is a reasonable possibility of a person's body or any movable
object that the person might be wearing, touching or carrying which is not designed for safe
use on live conductors of the same or higher voltage, coming closer to a live exposed
conductor than the minimum safe approach distances. And / Or where there is a
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reasonable possibility of damage occurring if contact is made to major or critical asset such
as water, sewer or gas mains identified as critical to the supply system.
Observe: means to watch or view attentively.
Personnel: means employee.
Safe approach distances: means those approach distances as prescribed in Essential
Energys Electrical Safety Rules CEPG8030 & Location of Water Assets procedural guidelines
CEPG8401.
Safety observer: means a person deemed competent to observe the task and specifically
assigned the duty of actively observing (see active observation) and warning against unsafe
approach to electrical apparatus or other unsafe conditions.
Shall or Must: is to be interpreted as mandatory.
Should: is to be interpreted as advisory or discretionary
Worksite: means a place where people work.
Worksite controller: means the person appointed by the work group as the director of
the worksite, with responsibilities including:

Ensuring that the HIRAC process is carried out in accordance with the prescribed
procedure.

Ensuring that completed HIRAC forms are returned to the designated location within
the Field Service Centre prior to filing.

REFERENCES
CECM1000 - Safety, Security, Health and Environment (SSHE) Manual sections
CEM7040 - Live Line Manual
CEOF1002 SWMS/ HIRAC Forms
CEOP8030 - Electrical Safety Rules
CEPG8401 Location of Water Assets
Code of Practice Electrical Work, Electrical Safety Act 2002 Queensland
Code of Practice - Victorian Electricity Supply Industry Distribution Businesses 2006 (the
Green Book)

REVISIONS
Issue Number

Section

Various

All sections

Details of Changes in this Revision


Main idea of document has not changed.
Small wording changes to Sections 2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5
and 4.6
Updated template in line with Essential Energy branding

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