Ensuring Safe and Compliant Rural Electric Fences: Key Standards and Guidelines

Building an electric fence system on your rural property requires adherence to specific standards to ensure safety, functionality, and compliance with regulatory guidelines. The construction of rural electric fences must follow the standards outlined in AS/NZS 60335.2.76:2019 and IEC 60335-2-76 Ed3, MOD.

Below is a summary of the essential clauses that should be followed during the installation process. For a complete list of requirements, please refer to the aforementioned standards.

  • Single Energiser Rule: An electric fence must not be supplied by two separate energisers. If different parts of a farm fence system are powered by two distinct energisers, a minimum spacing of 2.5 meters (8’3″) between the nearest points of the two parts is mandatory.
  • Barbed Wire Restrictions: Barbed wire must never be energised. If electric wires are added to a fence containing barbed wire, they must be supported off the side of the fence at a distance of at least 150mm (6″). Barbed wire should be grounded at regular intervals to prevent accidents.
  • Earthing Requirements: An electric fence earth stake should maintain a 10-meter (33′) distance from any mains or telecommunication earth to avoid interference and ensure proper grounding.
  • Insulation and Installation of Connecting Leads: Connecting leads between the energiser and fence that run inside buildings must be well insulated from the building frame. Underground connecting leads should be high voltage cables installed to withstand the effects of animal hooves, tractor wheels, and other ground impacts. These leads must never be installed in the same conduit as mains leads or telecommunications cables.
  • Overhead Power Line Clearance: Avoid crossing overhead power lines where possible. If necessary, fence wires or connecting leads should cross under overhead power lines at right angles. The maximum height for these wires near overhead power lines is 3 meters (10′). The following minimum clearances to power lines must be observed:Less than 1000V: 3 meters (10′) | Between 1000V and 33000V: 4 meters (13′) | Greater than 33000V: 8 meters (26′)
  • Signage Requirements: Electric fences installed along public roads must have warning signs at regular intervals. These signs, which should be yellow with black markings at least 25mm (1″) high, must show an approved shock hazard warning symbol or the words “CAUTION: Electric Fence.”
  • Gate Safety: Gates across public roads or pathways must not be energised. Adjacent energised wires should carry appropriate warning signs to alert the public.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your rural electric fence is both safe and compliant with current standards. Always refer to the complete AS/NZS 60335.2.76:2019 and IEC 60335-2-76 Ed3, MOD standards for detailed requirements and best practices.