On average, one farm worker dies each year as a result of contact with an overhead power line. A number of others suffer severe and debilitating burn injuries.
In the last five years there have been 1,140 reported near misses involving machinery and overhead power lines, where serious injury or death was a possibility.
Harvesting machinery, tipper trailers, sprayers, loaders, irrigation pipes, ladders and stacking activities are often involved. These accidents can be avoided by ensuring that farm workers and contractors are made aware of the presence of overhead power lines and work safely near them.
The dangers of over-reliance on technology were brought home to this tractor driver when he brought down a 132kV pylon near Grantham.
It’s understood he’d used the Global Positioning System (GPS) to program the tractor to operate in straight lines. Distracted by the equipment he was towing, he’d failed to notice he was heading at speed towards the tower and hadn’t applied the brakes.
Fortunately, the driver was not injured and the tractor only had minor damage; so after the overhead wires were secured and the pylon lifted by a telehandler, the tractor was reversed it out and carried on working in the next field.
This is a timely reminder of the dangers of working near overhead lines and our equipment and the use of technology.
Here’s a video of the story from the farm:
Top 5 tips on farming safety
1. Never raise elevating equipment such as spray booms, cabbage harvesters and trailer bodies under or close to overhead power lines.
2. Never store or produce materials under or close to overhead power lines, as this reduces the clearance from overhead lines.
3. Know the maximum height and reach of any vehicle that you are operating.
4. Understand any height limitations or special operating requirements for the location that you are working at on the farm.
5. Keep a careful look out for warning signs, goal posts and overhead power lines.
- Look Out Look Up Leaflet
- Avoidance of Danger from Electricity Overhead Lines and Underground Cables
- Look Out Look up Safety Campaign