Farmers are being reminded to look up when working near overhead power lines.

In the past year Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has seen a slight reduction in the number of incidents on farms and fields across its network in central southern England, with 417 callouts compared to 419 the year before.

These reported incidents on agricultural land were the result of third-parties coming in to contact with poles, overhead lines and cables, resulting in local electricity supplies being disrupted and potentially causing serious injury, or worse, to those involved.

This year, SSEN carried out a research project with farmers operating across arable and livestock farms to explore safety behaviours, media habits, understanding of SSEN’s annual campaign and the dangers associated with overhead lines.

In response, following feedback provided during 15 hours of in-depth interviews, the network operator has launched a new safety campaign including direct ‘farmer-to-farmer’ advice and clear instructions to follow in an emergency.

SSEN’s new campaign, which launched this week, uses radio and online messaging in addition to 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, if it’s safe to do so, 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, SSEN’s network operational safety manager, said: “Thankfully, we’ve seen a reduction in the number of incidents across our network areas this past year, but every incident is one too many.

"While the agricultural landscape, and the farm machinery used on it, changes throughout the year, our vital safety message remains the same – look out, look up and look after yourself.”

For more information on staying safe when working near power lines, visit