By Western Power Distribution
Western Power Distribution is called to hundreds of incidents each year in which farm workers or their machinery have come into contact with electrical equipment, sometimes with devastating results. Now the electricity network operator is urging farmers not to take short cuts when it comes to electrical safety.
‘Look Out! Look Up!’ That’s the message from Western Power Distribution (WPD), which is urging farmers not to take short cuts when it comes to electrical safety.
The electricity network operator, which covers the Midlands, the South West and South Wales, is an exhibitor at this year’s Croptec Digital Event.
The operator deals with hundreds of incidents every year in which farm workers and their machinery have come into contact with electricity, often resulting in injury or even death. Many of these could be avoided.
Eddie Cochrane, WPD Safety Advisor, said: “The dangers of working near electricity are very real for farm workers. Overhead power lines and underground cables can both present hazards, particularly when operating farm machinery.
“We’re always happy to talk to farmers and provide advice and guidance to help prevent accidents before they happen. That’s why we’re delighted to be able to use this year’s Croptec event to reinforce this important safety message.”
Advances in technology bring huge benefits to farmers – but may also present added risks. Many farming accidents involve farm vehicles fitted with Sat Nav or other automated steering systems, which do not take into account poles, pylons and overhead lines nearby.
WPD safety teams have responded to at least one incident in which a farm worker was so distracted by his mobile phone that he collided with electrical equipment. Fortunately, no-one was hurt although accidents like this may result in hefty financial costs for the farmer.
But technology is also enabling help to arrive more quickly. Farm workers can now use the What3words app in an electrical emergency to tell WPD where to find them. This gives WPD teams a precise incident location, enabling those in trouble to be found quickly, even if they are in rural or hard-to-find areas.
In the event of an incident involving electrical equipment, farm workers should call 105, the national emergency number. If contact is made with a power line, they are advised to stay in the cab and try to drive clear. If that is not possible, the driver should stay in the cab and contact 105, only leaving the machine in an emergency.
When leaving the vehicle in an accident, farm workers should take care not to hold the machine and touch the ground at the same time; they should take leaping strides or ‘bunny hop’ away so that one foot is off the floor at all times.
For more information, go to www.westernpower.co.uk/farmsafe