In the past 12 months, we have had more than 20 incidents of farm machinery coming into contact with power poles or power lines on farms in the Esperance region. Last harvest season alone we had eight incidents and any one of them could have caused serious injury or death.
With harvesting underway again, it's a good time to remind those working on our farms how they can keep safe when working near electricity. Power lines, power poles and other electrical infrastructure can present serious safety risks. Please do some checks before starting work.
Remember that if you cause damage to Horizon Power's assets, you may also be held liable for the cost of repairing them, which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
Here are some tips for staying safe this harvest:
- Identify where power poles and power lines are located in the paddocks.
- Mark power poles with fluorescent tape available from agricultural suppliers.
- Power lines must be a minimum of 5.5 metres from the ground, so ensure that your vehicles are well below this height if you intend to move them underneath power lines.
- Be aware that power lines may appear to be higher or lower than they actually are, depending on the angle from which they are viewed.
- If necessary, call us on 9072 3400 in advance to schedule the disconnection of a power line to enable you to safely work near it or under it.
- If your vehicle comes into contact with a power pole or power lines, don't jump off the vehicle, as the ground around you may be live and you could be electrocuted.
- Stay on the vehicle and call 000 or Horizon Power on 13 23 51. Wait for the power line to be disconnected - this can be done remotely.
- If you have to leave the vehicle because it is too dangerous to remain in it, hop away with both feet landing on the ground simultaneously until you are 10 metres clear.
Horizon Power has a short video to help promote farm safety which is available to watch at horizonpower.com.au/farmsafetyor we can provide you with a copy on a memory stick if you come into our office on Sims Street in Esperance between 8 am and 4 pm Mondays to Fridays.
Remember that your safety is in your hands.
Donna Gibson is the Retail and Community Manager based in Esperance for regional power supplier Horizon Power.