Powerline safety warning as harvest ramps up

SAFETY: SA Power Networks provide advice to farmers who work to bring in their crops this season.
SAFETY: SA Power Networks provide advice to farmers who work to bring in their crops this season.

Farmers are being urged to ensure their safety as they work to bring in their crops this season.

According to SA Power Networks corporate affairs manager Paul Roberts, often the company responds to electricity outages that occur during harvest on farms due to power lines being hit.

"Farmers are understandably keen to get the crops harvested and, in the rush, they can potentially put themselves and co-workers at risk," he explained.

"But harvest should not be a matter of life or death for people working on your property," Mr Roberts said.

"Before getting out to harvest it is worth stopping for a second and asking yourself 'what could go wrong here'?

Powerlines can be difficult to see, especially in dusty conditions, so confirming their location before you start work, could save a life."

Mr Roberts said a new issue that had emerged in recent years was the use of GPS for guiding ever-larger farm machinery.

"Farm equipment is getting wider and that needs to be factored in when using GPS to navigate around electricity infrastructure."

When a vehicle comes into contact with power lines, due to the risk of electric shock, you should immediately contact SA Power Networks on 13 13 66 and (preferably) do not move from your vehicle until the power is switched off.

"If a vehicle strikes a power line it is best to stay inside the vehicle until help can arrive," Mr Roberts said.

"Others in the vicinity should keep well clear of the vehicle until SA Power Networks confirms the line is safe.

If it is necessary to evacuate the vehicle to prevent injury, several steps must be followed to maximise safety:

  • Jump out and clear of the vehicle, ensuring you do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
  • Calmly move away using shuffling steps until you are at least 10 metres clear (about a bus length).
  • Do not return to the vehicle until after the area has been made safe.
  • Keep other people well clear.

In a power emergency call 13 13 66. For an ambulance or police assistance call 000.

This story Prevent an electrical fault this harvest first appeared on Border Chronicle.