Accidental contact with overhead power lines is a genuine concern when working on farms in New Zealand, with at least one fatality occurring each year. The following are some basic safety tips which can help ensure the safety of you and anyone working on your farm.
Watch that line
- keep 4 metres away from any lines – to get an electric shock, equipment does not need to touch the lines, as electricity can 'arc' over in a high voltage system.
- treat every electric wire as live at all times.
- take care working around the guide wires on electrical poles - bumping these wires can cause the lines to sag.
Working off trucks
- don't just look ahead – look up when driving any vehicle with extra height. Always pay close attention above and be sure you're clear when driving or manoeuvring under power lines.
- park and work away from overhead lines as much as possible.
- keep clear of power lines when working on the upper levels of stock trucks or on high loads.
- look up, look around and keep on trucking safely.
Using Hiabs and side lifters
- looking for a spot to unload or pick up? Remember to check for power lines.
- make sure your hiab or side lifter is down before you move off.
Moving equipment around lines
- when moving tall machinery, such as grain augers, ladders, drills and dump truck beds, choose a route where power lines are high enough to give adequate clearance or better yet, avoid power lines all together.
- always have lifting equipment in a lowered position before moving it under power lines.
- do not erect fence wire along the same path as overhead power lines, or strain wire where it could contact lines. A broken wire flicking upwards can come into contact with nearby power lines.
- don't load or unload metal irrigation pipes close to power lines.
- keep jet irrigators and the booms of rotary irrigators clear at all times.
- make sure the tips of rotary irrigators are kept 4 metres from power lines when operating and moving down a paddock, and when being shifted along bumpy roads or across bumpy paddocks.
- working with power tools
- when working with power tools, use a safety switch (RCD) which can trip the power before an injury occurs.
If power lines are down
- if you see a line down, call us immediately and make sure people and stock are kept well away.
- if power lines hit your vehicle while you are in it, stay still and remain in the vehicle until help arrives.
Learn CPR and first aid
If there's an accident, you could save a life with some basic first aid knowledge and training. For more information on CPR and first aid please visit St John.