ESB Networks has issued a letter to FCI to highlight best practice guidelines when operating near overhead electricity lines.
It issued the letter following recent incidents, one of which resulted in the loss of power for more than 1,300 customers in Co Kilkenny for five hours.
Overhead electricity lines
In a statement to That’s Farming, a spokesperson for ESB Networks said:
“In this incident, while harvesting a maize crop, a tractor and trailer struck an electricity pole causing the conductor to fall on a public road.”
“A member of the public who came across the live wire reported the incident. ESB Networks attended the scene, making the site secure and restoring power to impacted customers.”
Message for agri contractors
In a statement, a spokesperson for the FCI said:
“ESB Networks have been in contact with FCI after two power outages caused by contractors at maize harvest over the past week.”
“Please remember to be extra careful under power lines & if you hit a line or a pole, please contact ESB Networks immediately on 1800372999.”
“Drivers need to avoid fallen lines at all times; this is a public safety issue, as well as a community issue as power outages can impact on local farms, local businesses & the health of vulnerable people who may depend on a reliable & safe power supply. Please take this notice seriously.”
In the letter seen by That’s Farming, ESB stressed that a major danger is working near overhead electricity power lines.
“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 around the farmyard.”
Overhead electricity lines: Safety advice
The minimum safe distance is 3 metres; it is more for higher voltage lines. If you have any concerns, contact ESB Networks for advice on 1800 372 757.
- Accidents are preventable by taking care and recognising an unsafe situation. Never take chances with electricity;
- Identify where overhead wires, poles and stays are located;
- Remember the 3-metre safe distance;
- Watch out for overhead electricity wires;
- Steer clear of poles and stay wires;
- Never try to lift electricity wires – if they are low, contact ESB Networks immediately;
- Avoid crossing beneath electricity wires and work parallel to the wires;
- Do not stack bales or carry out loading near electricity wires or poles;
- Electricity wires and poles must be at least 6 metres away from the silage pit;
- Report any damage immediately.
If an accident arises
If an accident situation arises where any part of the machine is in contact with the electricity line, ESB Networks advises you to take the follow these steps:
- Stay in the cab;
- Keep everyone else clear, 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 or approach the cab or touch any part of the machine.
ESB Network’s emergency contact number:
If you have any concerns, please phone ESB Networks immediately. In an emergency, the speed of your phone call could make all the difference.
The emergency contact number is 1800 372 999 or 021 2382410 (24 hour/ 7-day service).