With the silage season underway, farmers and silage contractors are reminded of the serious risks and repercussions associated with working near electricity wires.
They are advised to keep clear of overhead electricity lines, with the minimum safe distance being three metres – both horizontally and vertically.
In the past, there have been serious electrical accidents involving silage machinery, both in the field and at the silage pit.
The following guidelines should be taken into account to prevent further accidents in relation to electricity wires:
- Never carry out work that brings you close to electricity wires as they are always live and can jump gaps;
- Watch out for overhead electricity wires when using tall machinery;
- Steer clear of electricity poles and stay wires. Report anything unusual to ESB Networks;
- Never touch or come close to fallen wires or handle stock where there are fallen wires nearby;
- Avoid crossing beneath overhead lines and always work parallel to the line;
- Poles and overhead lines must never be close to a silage pit. If they are closer than 6 metres, contact ESB Networks to relocate. Do not work until we advise it is safe to do so;
- When carrying out timber or hedge clearing work, first check that there are no electrical wires nearby. If there are wires in the vicinity, do not proceed and contact ESB Networks;
- A changed farm layout could mean overhead wires are a new hazard, contact us for advice;
- Contact ESB Networks immediately on 1850 372 999 (24/7 service, we advise all farmers and silage contractors to store this number in their mobile phone).
What to do
If you are involved in an incident with live electricity wires, you are advised to stay in your cab, keep everyone clear and call the emergency number immediately.
If you do need to exit the cab, jump clear and take short steps until at least ten metres away. Do not return to the scene until it is confirmed as safe. Remember: There are no second chances with electricity.
Further information is available in the ‘Farm safely with electricity’ booklet, which can be found here.