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Look up and live 👀

We recently were chatting with Glen Cook who was the incredible creator behind the life saving Look Up and Live app. read below to see what he is up to and what the app can help you and your organisation achieve!!


Look up and live, a notable quote when it comes to powerline safety all over the world.

It is easy to say but in practice it can be difficult for workers to see powerlines and recognise the danger.

"I knew that powerline was there, I just didn’t see it!” I hear this phrase almost every day, from workers who have been extremely lucky to survive an accidental contact with overhead powerlines. Usually the machinery is not so lucky with tremendous damage to tyres, hydraulics and electrics of the vehicle.


Why do these incidents occur so regularly when the powerline infrastructure is so visible, and why don’t people see them? Have you ever missed seeing a cyclist when arriving at an intersection? Why didn’t you see them? Were you looking for vehicles or a cyclist? Despite what most people think our eyes do not work like a video camera capturing everything and sending that info to our brain. If you haven’t identified what you are looking for it can be easily overlooked and is known as ‘inattentional blindness’. Inattentional blindness occurs when the brain is focused on a specific task, and the eyes and brain miss a fully visible hazard, such as powerlines. Try this ‘awareness test’ video.

Adequate planning.

Let’s talk about underground powerlines for a second. Underground powerlines are not visible but are damaged far less often, why is that? It’s because we cannot see them that we, then formulate a plan to work near them, by using planning tools such as One Call / 811 or Dial Before You Dig. Formulating a simple plan has identified the hazard and has significantly reduced to chance of accidental contact with the underground cable.

So, what happens for overhead powerlines? Well most businesses, generally rely on workers to see the powerlines and identify the hazard when they arrive onsite. This is when inattentional blindness comes in, blocking the fully visible powerline to the worker, until it’s too late.

This is where the app has assisted in helping businesses and workers to adequately plan work near overhead powerlines, allowing forward planning for work near powerlines. For example, construction companies can now investigate at the planning stages of what powerline hazards will be onsite and what controls such as relocating or undergrounding of powerlines may need to occur without holding up works in the future when time is money! Or the app can be used reactively for firefighters and emergency service workers to identify voltages and powerlines owners to be situationally aware of the electrical hazard.

The app has been a successful innovation in Australia with many utilities in many states now sharing their powerline spatial data onto the Look Up and Live app.

The app has been accessed over 100,000 times in the last year and there have been 20,000 downloads of the app to devices.

Another great Australian powerline innovation is the Rotamarka a red and white spinning powerline marker. A construction, Agricultural or aviation business can request rotamarkas (powerline markers) to highlight lines for high plant /equipment and aircraft. Rotamarkas combat inattentional blindness due to their constant spinning movement, as our eyes are drawn to movement, highlighting the powerline hazard to machinery operators and pilots.

The app has received many innovation and safety awards and recently received the Safety Excellence Award at the Australian Workplace Health and Safety Awards in 2021.

Australian workplace health and Safety award winner 2021


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