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JVA's 10 Rules for Electric Fence Safety

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  1. Be careful when handling your electric fence energiser, it can hurt you. The danger level is low, but this danger increases for small children and pets.

  2. Barbed wire should not be electrified. For long, permanent electric fences use 2.5mm plain galvanised wire. For temporary fences, strip grazing and small garden fence set-ups we recommend using electric fencing poliwire or politape instead (see here). 




  3. If your fence is likely to be touched by children consider using a lower-powered energiser or using the low power terminal on your energiser. Another alternative is to add an energy limiting device such as the JVA Flood Gate Controller to that section of fence. Do not place a live wire where someone could touch it with their head or neck and keep live wires away from swimming pools or dams.



  4. Energisers should, if possible, be installed inside a building to reduce the risk of mechanical damage and exposure to the elements. All plastic degrades in UV light eventually, and electronic appliances will last longer if kept cool and remain dry. Some electronic products must not be placed outdoors, such as mains powered energisers or mains plug packs.

  5. Crossings with overhead power lines should be avoided wherever possible. If such a crossing cannot be avoided, it should be made underneath the power line, and as nearly as possible at right angles to it. For more information, regarding electric fences and overhead lines, please consult AS3014 or AS60335.2.76 appendix BB which is printed in most electric fence energiser manuals. 

  6. An electric fence, when installed somewhere accessible to the public, should be identified by suitable signs at intervals not exceeding 90 metres. You should also place a sign at any gateway. The notice should bear the words “LIVE WIRES” in block letters not less than 13mm high. The letters should be red on a white background and the size of each notice should not be less than 62mm x 50mm overall. 

  7. Where the electric fence energiser is being used to prevent birds from roosting on buildings, do not connect the energiser to earth. Run two wires out from the energiser around the area to protect in such a way that the bird has to touch both. It should be easy to switch the energiser off or disconnect the fence with a switch so someone can shut it off if they need to. And of course, signs are needed (see Rule 6).

  8. Do not use your home electricity earth or metal water pipes as an earth for your electric fence energiser.

  9. In periods of extreme fire danger, turn your energiser off or use the reduced power output terminal. This is a sensible precaution against the chance that a spark on the fence could start a fire.

  10. Lightning kills a lot of electric fence energisers. If you do not have a good lightning diverter fitted to your energiser, consider disconnecting the energiser to protect it from damage during thunderstorms. An electric fence switch could be used to isolate it from the fence.



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