On average, a farm worker dies every year as a result of making contact, or coming too close to overhead power lines. Add to this the hundreds of reported incidents where farm vehicles and machinery have made contact with overhead lines and the near misses that are never reported and it's clear that staying safe around power lines continues be an issue that needs to be addressed.
Northern Powergrid, the company that powers everyday life for 8 million people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is reminding farmers and farm workers to Look up it's Live this Farm Safety Week and make sure they know what to do in an emergency.
The electricity distributor has an online campaign throughout the harvest season reminding farmers to Look up it's Live. The safety adverts urge anyone working near power lines to visit the company's safety page northernpowergrid.com for advice about how to stay safe and to claim their free safety pack. The pack includes an air freshener and cab sticker for inside vehicles making Northern Powergrid's lifesaving advice about what to do if you come too close to or hit power line on hand in an emergency.
Geoff Earl, Northern Powergrid’s safety, health and environment director, talks about the company's farm safety campaign: “Large sections of our overhead power network cross farmland, with some cables on wood poles carrying up to 132,000 volts. Making contact or coming too close to those power lines is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury or death.
“It’s easy to misjudge heights and distances, especially when tired or operating in poor light such as at dusk or dawn. Electricity can jump gaps so even getting too close to lines can be dangerous. We want to ensure that farmers are aware of the power lines on their land and they make sure anyone working for them is aware of power lines, the dangers and what to do in an emergency.
“Carrying out a full and through risk assessments on land prior to carrying out work, and certainly prior to harvesting crops, particularly if workers are contracted in and not familiar with the land is key. We also recommend that farmers visit northernpowergrid.com/safety where they can download a copy of 'Working together with agriculture to save lives', watch our SHOCK video and order our free safety pack containing a cab sticker and air freshener that can be displayed in farm vehicles - meaning potentially life-saving advice and the number to call, 105, is on hand in case of an emergency.”
Northern Powergrid’s advice about staying safe near power lines -
- Make sure anyone working near power lines is aware of the dangers and the action they should take in an emergency.
- Remember you don’t need to make contact with a power line to be in danger, electricity can jump or ‘arc’ to any object (including people).
- Never try to disentangle or return to equipment until staff from Northern Powergrid, or the local distribution network operator, have confirmed that it is safe to do so.
- Be aware that ground levels may have changed since your last visit and clearance may not be enough, risk access each situation and on each occasion.
- Carry a mobile phone at all times and store 105, the number to call in an emergency.
- Remind others to stay clear. Power lines which have been damaged can stay live or automatically become live again at any time without warning.
- Always report any damage or contact to equipment however minor it seems.
If you come too close or hit power lines you should -
- If it's safe to do so drive well clear and call 105.
- If it’s not safe to drive clear, stay in the cab and call 105, warn others to stay away.
- If fire jump clear ensuring you do not make contact with the ground and the vehicle at the same time. Do not step down.
- Try to land with both feet together and continue to jump making leaping strides, so that one foot is off the ground at all times.
- Warn others to stay away, report the incident immediately by calling 105 and always assume power lines are live.
To get more information and claim your free in-cab safety stickers and air fresheners visit northernpowergrid.com/safety.