AGRICULTURAL workers are being urged to stay safe when working near overhead power lines and poles.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) annual ‘Look out, look up’ safety campaign comes when farmers and contractors are at one of their busiest points of the year. The campaign aims to share practical advice with the farming community; helping them avoid potential incidents involving the electricity infrastructure on their land.

SSEN has seen an increase in the number of incidents on farms and fields over the past 12 months, with 910 callouts, nearly 50 more than the year before.

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To ensure that farmers and their teams are armed with the knowledge they need to stay safe in the field, SSEN’s has issuing the following guidance:

  •  ‘Look out, look up!’ before you start work in any areas where electricity lines are present
  •  Risk assess and be aware of the height of machinery that will be in use near lines and ensure there’s plenty of clearance – remember that electricity can ‘jump’ if an object comes near enough
  •  If you do come in to contact with an overhead line or cable, stay in your cab or vehicle and try to avoid touching anything metal within it
  •  Call 105 immediately – this is the UK-wide single emergency number for power companies and is the quickest way to put you through to the correct network operator
  •  If the situation is too dangerous to stay put, for example, if the machinery is affected by fire, it’s advised that you leap out of the vehicle as high and as far as you can to avoid touching any part of the machinery or electricity network

Ian Crawley, network operational safety manager at SSEN, said: “Farmers, their staff and contractors are working harder than ever to maintain and manage their crops while adhering to current Government guidelines on working during the coronavirus pandemic, and here at SSEN we want to ensure that we are doing what we can to help them stay safe at the same time.

“Always take the opportunity to risk assess before any work begins – 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.

“SSEN wants to help its farming communities to stay accident-free throughout the year and hopes that through the ‘Look out, look up!’ campaign, it can continue to raise awareness and lower the risks associated with their invaluable work.”

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