July 16 to 22 will once again see National Farm Safety Week take place. This year’s theme is “Innovative, Safe and Healthy”, and given Australia's extensive agricultural background, farm safety is an everyday focus for many families on the land.
Essential Energy is urging farm machinery operators to consider electrical hazards when conducting agricultural activities and remember to “Look Up and Live” around power lines.
Regional Manager Northern, Mark Summers, said the biggest electrical risk for the agribusiness sector is machinery coming into contact with power lines, power poles and stay wires.
With ever-increasing time pressures, it is important farmers and workers identify potential hazards early to reduce the likelihood of a serious accident involving electricity.Mark Summers, Regional Manager Northern
“Prior to starting work, conduct risk assessments and safety inductions to ensure the location of overhead powerlines and power poles on the property are known. Powerlines should be identified and marked at ground level and a safety observer nominated onsite to reduce electrical risks when moving equipment.”
Maps showing the general location of the Essential Energy overhead electricity network are available upon request and can be ordered online at essentialenergy.com.au/overhead. They also have a variety of free safety information available to assist those working in the agribusiness sector. This includes fact sheets, safety stickers and videos that can be found at essentialenergy.com.au/agribusiness.
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“Impacted electricity infrastructure is not only a threat to the safety of the machinery operator and public, but it can also cause inconvenient and costly power outages,” Mark said.
“In an emergency, vehicle operators should only exit machinery if there is immediate danger, such as a fire. If escape is necessary, you should avoid contact with the ground and machine at the same time. Jump well clear of the equipment with both feet together and then hop or shuffle until at least eight metres away,” Mark said.
If machinery does contact overhead power lines or power poles, stay in the vehicle if it is safe to do so and call Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.