Farmers are being reminded to “look out and look up” for power lines when working in fields this spring.
The plea comes from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), which recorded more than 850 incidents on agricultural land last year where people came into contact with poles, overhead lines and cables, resulting in local electricity outages and potentially causing serious injury to those involved.
“Our rural landscape changes throughout the season and the Look out, Look up! message encourages anyone working in the field to take stock of their surroundings and the overhead lines that may run across, or into the land,” said SSEN’s head of safety, health and environment, Ian Crawley.
“Trees and hedgerows may have grown since the last time you checked and could now obscure nearby lines, intense heat in the summer can cause lines to sag slightly and working with different styles or heights of machinery may bring you closer to the lines than in previous years.”
SSEN advice states that you must not get out of your tractor or vehicle cab if any part of the machinery or equipment touches an overhead line – once outside, they will no longer have the protective shield of the machine around them.
Farmers who find themselves in this position are asked to call 105 immediately, and in cases where it is not safe to stay in the machinery, it is advised to leap out of the vehicle as high and as far as possible.
“Always take the opportunity to risk-assess before any work begins,” added Mr Crawley.
“It’s a small step to take that could make all the difference.
“Striking a pole or coming into contact with electrical equipment can have serious and potentially lethal consequences for those involved.”