Tiger Tails & Power Lines: Understanding Insulation and Safety Measures


Ensuring safety around power lines is paramount in construction and electrical work. You might have come across Tiger Tails as a safety measure, but you might also wonder – aren't power lines already insulated? This blog investigates the specifics of power line insulation, answers the most frequently asked questions, and explores how Tiger Tails can enhance safety on the worksite.

What Are Tiger Tails and What Do They Help With?

Tiger Tails are high-visibility, split tubes made from synthetic materials. They are expertly installed over exposed power lines, creating a crucial layer of protection for workers. They serve two key purposes:

  1. Visual Warning

    The bright colours of Tiger Tails act as a constant reminder of the presence of overhead power lines. This heightened awareness helps workers maintain a safe distance and avoid accidental contact.

  2. Temporary Insulation Layer

    While not a complete replacement for permanent insulation, Tiger Tails offer a temporary layer of insulation around power lines. This can minimise the severity of an electrical shock in case of accidental contact.

How Thick is Insulation on Power Lines?

The short answer is that there isn’t a consistent or standardised thickness for power lines in NZ. It depends on several factors like voltage (higher voltage gets thicker insulation), location (urban areas with more potential contact points might have thicker insulation than rural areas), and even environmental conditions like wind, rain, or snow which can degrade the insulation over time. 

However, it's important to remember that even permanent power line insulation isn't designed to completely eliminate electrical shock hazards. Maintaining a safe distance and following recommended safety protocols is always crucial.

What Damages Insulation on Power Lines?

Several factors can damage power line insulation, making it even more important to implement additional safety measures:

  • Weather: Extreme weather conditions like lightning strikes, high winds, and ice storms can damage the insulation.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to sunlight, salt spray, and air pollution can degrade the insulation over time.
  • Animal Activity: Birds and rodents can sometimes damage power line insulation by building nests or chewing on the material.

Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial for identifying and repairing damaged power line insulation.

Do Tiger Tails Insulate Power Lines?

While Tiger Tails do offer a temporary layer of insulation, it's important to understand they are not a complete replacement for permanent power line insulation. They are designed to provide an additional safety buffer in case of accidental contact.

Here's a key takeaway: Permanent power line insulation is designed to withstand the electrical current flowing through the lines and prevent leakage. Tiger Tails, on the other hand, are intended to minimise the severity of an electrical shock if someone accidentally comes into contact with a live line.

How Far Should Scaffolding Be Kept from Power Lines?

Safe working distances around power lines are crucial to prevent electrical hazards. The minimum safe distance varies depending on the voltage of the line. It's essential to consult with a qualified electrician or refer to appropriate electricity regulations for specific guidelines.

Here's where Tiger Tails come in. By creating a visible barrier and an additional layer of insulation around overhead power lines, Tiger Tails can help you work closer to power lines while maintaining a safe working environment. However, it's never recommended to directly touch or come dangerously close to power lines, even with Tiger Tails installed.

For a Safety-First Approach, Choose to Partner with Tiger Tails NZ

Tiger Tails NZ is proud to be one of the leading providers of power line protection covers and safety solutions. We offer high-quality Tiger Tails, expert installation, competitive rates, and free consultations to ensure your worksite prioritises safety.

Don't compromise on safeguarding your team. Contact Tiger Tails NZ today to discuss your power line safety needs and get a free quote. Let's work together to create a safer work environment for everyone.

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