What they do
Electrical linesworkers install, repair and maintain the network of overhead powerlines and cables that carry electricity from generators to end users. In the south west corner of WA alone, stretching north from Albany to Kalbarri and east to Kalgoorlie, there is over 88,000 km of powerlines to maintain. In addition to working on the lines themselves, electrical linesworkers also install power poles and associated equipment including supports, cross arms, street lights and electrical equipment such as transformers and circuit breakers. During emergency situations, such as when live wires have been knocked down by severe weather, electrical linesworkers are called out to safely repair the damage and remove hazards.
Specialisations include: Electrical line mechanic (distribution) (NZ), Electrical line mechanic (transmission) (NZ), Electrical linesworker (distribution), Electrical linesworker (transmission), Railway traction line worker
There are two main employers of electrical linesworkers in Western Australia. Western Power is responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity in the State’s South West. Horizon Energy looks after electricity supply and generation throughout the rest of the State. Some large companies with high energy usage, such as mine sites in remote locations, may operate their own private network. Electrical linesworkers work outdoors in most weather conditions, at heights and with extremely high voltage electricity. In order to minimise the danger, they must follow strict safety requirements. They may be required to work shifts, which can include nights and weekends. These workers may also be expected to be on call to respond to emergencies that occur outside of regular hours.
Tools and technologies
Electrical linesworkers use special line-testing equipment to measure the strength of the electrical current and help identify where faults are occurring. Ladders and elevated work platforms can be used to reach the tops of poles, where they use tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, drills and wire strippers to carry out maintenance and repair work. Safety equipment is very important to these workers, and they are usually required to wear gloves, boots, overalls, safety glasses, hard hats and reflective vests.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an electrical linesworker you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in ESI distribution (powerline) (level 3) or lineworker (transmission) (level 3). The apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as an electrical linesworker in Western Australia you will need to obtain an Electrician’s License issued by the Electrical Licensing Board of Western Australia.