The moving forward of the clocks generally coincides with a significant increase in field work.

The inclement weather of late means this year’s spring season for completing tasks has been condensed to an even tighter window.

Those completing field work will find spring tasks quickly turn to summer tasks and we will not feel until silage season is upon us.

As such, now is a good time to take a few minutes to bring farm safety to the forefront of our thoughts and plans for the coming season. A major danger for everyone on all farms is working near overhead electricity power lines.

Coming close to these live wires is extremely hazardous and can be fatal. Typical farm machinery can easily reach overhead electricity wires.

Forage harvesters, combine harvesters, tipping trailers, and moving high loads where there are overhead wires are major risks.

Incidents with tractors involving ESB poles.

Recent incidents reported to ESB Networks where poles have been struck and power lines brought to the ground highlight just how important it is to give electricity poles and stays a wide berth when using machinery around the farm.

Contact, or even coming close to electricity wires can be fatal. Electricity can jump gaps.

And always remember: There are no second chances with electricity.

Accident prevention advice

Accidents are preventable with careful planning and recognising the potential for unsafe situations. Never take chances with electricity.

Always remember to:

  • Look around you and identify where overhead wires, poles and stays are located.
  • Steer clear of poles and stay wires.
  • Refrain from raising booms, tipper lorries, cranes, ladders, scaffolding or telescopic handlers near overhead wires.
  • Never try to lift electricity wires – if they are low, contact ESB Networks immediately.
  • Never tip materials or store bales underneath overhead electricity wires
  • Avoid crossing beneath electricity wires and work parallel to the wires.
  • If a pole is struck, the live electricity wires will fall and could land on the cab or make contact with any attached machinery, putting the driver and anyone else who comes near or touches the equipment at risk of electrocution. Stay wires are necessary to keep electricity wires at a safe height over ground for the farmer, their families and their neighbours. When a stay wire is struck, it will either break itself or worse, break the pole and cause the wires to fall.

    Our advice is to always report any damage, however small.

    ESB Networks here to help

    We are here to help. Before carrying out any works near overhead electricity wires, contact ESB Networks on 1800 372 757 for advice.

    If there is a safety issue with clearances over fields or other problems with poles, ring ESB Networks immediately.

    ESB Networks staff will always respond to these emergencies, but it is each person’s responsibility to recognise the potential for danger and act safely where there are risks associated with electricity.

    5 safety tips

    If an accident situation arises where any part of your machine is in contact with the electricity line, follow these steps:

    1 Stay in the cab.

    2 Keep everyone else clear and at a distance of at least 5m.

    3 If you have to exit the cab because of fire, for example, jump clear and take short steps until you are at least 5m clear.

    4 Do not return or approach the cab or touch any part of the machine.

    5 Call the ESB Networks emergency line on 1800 372 999.

    Do not, under any circumstances, handle electricity wires or anything they may be in contact with.

    If you have any concerns, please phone ESB Networks immediately. In an emergency situation the speed of your phone call could make all the difference.

    The emergency contact number is 1800 372 999 (24 hour/ seven-day service). Save this number in your mobile phone today.