Horizon Power have urged Esperance farmers to be vigilant during harvest after a spate of incidents involving overhead power lines.
The company confirmed that 20 incidents had been recorded over the last 12 months, more than half of which occurred during the seeding and harvesting seasons.
The most recent incident, which occurred in late November, saw a harvester bring down a 19,000 volt power line and a number of other lines which caused a crop fire.
Horizon Power Goldfields Esperance Retail and Community manager Donna Gibson said it was important farmers educated themselves and their staff on the hazards associated with working in close proximity to overhead power lines.
“The bottom line is that we don’t want farmers and their workers injured – or worse – including when there is a possibility of fire as it can be very devastating to the community,” she said.
“A fire caused by a fallen power line has the potential to spread to other parts of the community, risking the lives of many people.”
Gibson Bush Fire Brigade Captain Blake Halford recommended farmers ensure employees know which paddocks have power lines.
“For those with GPS or auto steer, mapping the position of power poles will greatly lower the risk of connecting with them,” he said.
“The local volunteer emergency services are always happy to help but people shouldn’t forget they have their own jobs and businesses to run.
“It’s in everybody’s best interest to stay vigilant when working around powerlines to avoid costly or fatal mistakes.”
Although the company have a duty to protect the community and its staff, Ms Gibson said Horizon Power relied on the community to take the appropriate safety measures.
Ms Gibson recommended that farmers look around their properties and know the location of the power lines and make a considered effort to inform new workers of the hazards.
For more information on farm safety and the dangers of fallen power lines, visit the Esperance Horizon Power office.