Electrical and gas safety at festivals and outdoor events

Safety auditors from the Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR) may do a safety inspection of the event without any prior notice. Serious penalties apply to people who knowingly use unsafe electrical and gas installations.

If a safety auditor notes any unsafe conditions, these must be fixed before the electrical or gas appliances/installations can be used.

Electrical safety at festivals and events

Ensuring safe electrical installations at stalls, stages and in public areas of festivals and events helps avoid dangerous consequences including fire, electric shock, injury or death.

An electrical installation at a festival or event includes wiring systems that power devices at stages, within concession tents, living quarters and other structures, and includes using extension cords and power boards.

The OTR inspects electrical wiring and equipment at festivals and events to ensure they are safe and compliant. The applicable standard is AS/NZS 3002 Electrical Installations – Shows and Carnivals.

The most common issues include:

  • overhead wiring
  • installing cables, including extension cords
  • festoon and decorative lighting clearances
  • protecting electrical equipment from the weather.

Did you know that it is illegal to do your own electrical work?

Only licensed electricians can do electrical work in South Australia. If you do electrical work without a licence, you may be fined. It can also be extremely dangerous for you and may result in serious injury or even death. Insurance companies may not cover fire or personal injury claims caused by do-it-yourself electrical work.

Licensed tradespeople have the equipment, training and knowledge to do the necessary work safely and in accordance with appropriate regulations and rules. When using a licensed tradesperson you should ensure they hold an appropriate South Australian trade licence and that they provide you with an electrical certificate of compliance for work they do for you.

Legal obligations

Electrical setups at festivals and events must be safe for users and the public. If an electrical installation is not safe or safely operated it may be disconnected by OTR officers or penalties of up to $250,000 may apply.

The overall legal responsibility for the electrical safety of a festival or event lies with the person who is in control of the installation - this will either be the owner or the operator of the area where the event is being held.

The owner or operator may either supply electricity to the festival or event, or allow stallholders to run an electricity supply on their land. The owner or operator must ensure that all electrical work is carried out by an electrician with a South Australian licence. licensed electricians will produce a certificate of compliance for their work, which the owner/operator can rely on as confirmation the installation is safe and compliant with AS/NZS 3002 Electrical Installations - Shows and carnivals.

Overhead wiring

If overhead wiring is installed near concession tents or stalls, parking areas or in areas where there is pedestrian or vehicle traffic, the wires must be at least 6m above the ground (see figure 1).

Diagram showing that cables near vehicle traffic must be installed at least six metres above the ground

Where possible, overhead wiring should not cross roadways or access-ways where cranes, high loads or heavy machinery may travel.

If overhead wiring must cross a roadway or access-way, two additional flagged cables (or other suitable warning cables) must be installed 6 m either side of the overhead wiring, and at least 0.6 m below the lowest point of the overhead wiring (see figures 2 and 3).

When strung up, all cables must be able to hold their own weight at the appropriate height, as an insulated aerial conductor, or be supported by a secondary wire, eg a steel wire or rope.

Diagram showing that cables crossing roadways must have warning flags installed six metres either side of the cable
Diagram showing that cables crossing roadways must have warning flags installed six metres either side of the cable, set at a height that is at least 600 millimetres lower than the cable, and six meters away from the cable on either side

Installing cables, including extension cords

All electrical cables, including extension cords and other plug-in items supplying power to individual tents/stalls, must be designed and installed to the appropriate Australian standard.

This will ensure that the length, size and type of the cable used is appropriate for its purpose and will avoid appliances ‘burning out’ from voltage issues or catching fire.

Any socket outlets, extension cord plugs or other connectors exposed to the weather must be protected from water. Socket outlets and plugs must be correctly IP (ingress protection) rated for their location, and extension lead plugs must have appropriate coverings. Plastic bags are not appropriate protective materials for connections as they can collect water rather than keep it out.

Cables lying on the ground can be a tripping hazard and can be easily damaged. Vehicle and foot traffic can wear out the outer covering of the cable and expose the bare copper, which can cause electric shocks and fire. Any cables lying on the ground that are subject to foot or vehicle traffic require a protective covering.

Festoon and decorative lighting clearances

Lamps can release a large amount of heat. To avoid fire and injury risks, festoon and decorative lighting must be at least:

  • 150 mm away from flammable materials or structural metal work
  • 6 m above the ground in an area that may have any vehicle traffic
  • 2.7 m above the ground in an area where people are likely to stand unless precautions are taken to prevent accidental contact or the lamp holders are installed immediately below a ceiling or fixed to a structure in a way they will not get damaged.

Gas safety at outdoor events

If you’re using LPG cylinders at outdoor events, you need to ensure the cylinders, related components and any gas appliances you’re using are safe to use and kept in a safe location.

Safety checklists

Use these checklists to help ensure your gas installation is safe for you, your staff and the people attending the event.

You only need to answer the questions that apply to your situation.

If your answer is different from the preferred answer, you will need to make the necessary changes before your event starts to comply with the necessary safety rules and regulations.

If you have any questions about the questions and preferred answers, please contact the Office of the Technical Regulator.

LPG cylinder safety checklist

Items you need to checkYour answer
Preferred answer

Is the gas cylinder damaged, rusty or over 10 years old?



Is the gas cylinder being used outside a caravan or a structure?



Are spare, full or empty cylinders stored outside?



Is any cylinder blocking an exit way?



Are cylinders placed on a flat, level and non-combustible surface?



Are cylinders secured in an upright position with a chain?



Are cylinders kept in a well-ventilated location?



Is the cylinder safety relief valve facing away from the structure?



Is there a clearance area of at least a metre between the cylinders and any ignition sources?



Gas appliances safety checklist

Items you need to checkYour answer
Preferred answer

Are your appliances approved and labelled by a recognised certifying body?



Have the appliances been checked within the last two years by a qualified person?



Have any of the safety devices on the appliances been tampered with?



If fitted, do all thermostats and ignition sources work?



Are gas supply pipes and hoses in good condition?



Have the connection joints been tested for gas leaks using soapy water?



Are customers and combustible materials clear of the appliances?



Safety procedures checklist

Items you need to checkYour answer
Preferred answer

Do your staff members know what to do in an emergency?



Is a suitable and ready-to-use fire extinguisher available close by?



Has a staff member been trained in exchanging LPG cylinders?



Completed checklists

Once you have completed the checklists, keep them for the duration of the event. You may be asked to produce the completed checklists during a site safety audit.

If you have an unsafe cylinder, gas appliance or installation, you must use a licensed gas fitter to rectify the fault. You can also get help from the Office of the Technical Regulator regarding LPG safety for your outdoor events.

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Page last updated 24 February 2023

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