ESB Networks and the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) are raising awareness about the dangers of working near overhead ESB Networks electricity wires.
Arthur Byrne - Public Safety Manager at ESB Networks - advises all contractors saying, “A major risk is working near overhead electricity wires. Coming close to these live wires is extremely hazardous and can be fatal.”
“Very serious electrical accidents have taken place involving silage machinery - both in the silage field and at the silage pit.”
“Contact, or even near contact, with electricity lines can be fatal,” he added.
The minimum safe distance is 3 metres, horizontally and vertically; it is more for higher voltage lines.
Arthur Byrne outlined that accidents with overhead wires are preventable with advance planning and safe behaviours.
He advises putting these precautions into practice every time:
- Watch out for poles and stay wires;
- Steer clear;
- Identify where poles and stays are in the field and avoid coming within 3-metres. You may need to physically ‘Red Flag’ them;
- Avoid crossing beneath overhead lines and work parallel to the line;
- Must never be close to silage pits.
Arthur says that poles and overhead lines must never be close to a silage pit. If they are closer than 6 metres, you must contact ESB Networks to re-locate.
- Do not work until ESB Networks advises that it is safe to do so.
- In an accident situation, where any part of the machine is in contact with the electricity line/equipment, follow these steps:
- Stay in the cab;
- Keep everyone else clear of the scene, at least 5 metres;
- Phone ESB Networks immediately;
- If possible, reverse out of the contact situation;
- If you exit the cab (e.g. because of fire), jump clear and take short steps until you are 5 metres clear;
- Do not return to the cab;
- Do not, under any circumstances, touch the line or anything the line may be in contact with.
Emergency contact numbers
If you have concerns about overhead wires, poles, or stays, please phone this number - 1850 372 999 (24-hour/ 7-day service) immediately.
In an emergency, the speed of your phone call could make all the difference.
Byrne advises all farm and forestry contractors to store the emergency number in their mobile phone.
Image source: Farm Contractors Ireland \ Facebook