With the busy summer season fast approaching, ESB Networks is reminding all farmers and agricultural contractors to make sure they take care by staying clear of electricity wires and poles.

Electricity is a powerful force that has the potential to cause life-changing injuries or fatalities if not given the respect it deserves.

As farm activity increases during the busy summer months, worryingly so do reports of serious accidents and near-misses involving our overhead electricity wires.

Accidents are preventable by planning ahead, taking care and recognising an unsafe situation

Most accidents occur because of failure to notice the overhead wires and to take sensible precautions.

By taking a few minutes to read this safety message and apply the good safety practices below, we can all make sure we get home safe to our families at the end of every day.

Accidents are preventable by planning ahead, taking care and recognising an unsafe situation. Never take chances with electricity.

When moving high loads or operating large farm machinery, make sure to be mindful of electricity poles, stays and wires overhead.

  • Identify where overhead wires, poles and stays are located. Keep a watchful eye out when travelling around the farm or on public roadways.
  • Staying clear and putting a safe distance between you and overhead electricity wires is the best way to stay safe, as electricity can jump gaps.
  • When farming, plan your work to avoid crossing underneath or near to overheard electricity wires and only do so when you are sure you have at least 3m between your highest point and the wires. Work parallel to the wires when possible but always keep to the 3m rule.
  • Never stack bales or store any farm materials or equipment underneath overhead electricity wires. This could put you in danger when using loaders or could be used as a climbing aid by a child or unsuspecting person putting them at risk of electrocution.
  • There is a very real danger of electrocution if a tractor strikes either the pole or the stay, leading to the pole breaking and the live wires coming to the ground or landing on the tractor. Stay wires are essential to keep the overhead wires from sagging and when they are damaged, the wires can be lower than they should be which is then a danger for everyone in the area.
  • Never try to lift electricity wires: if they are low, contact ESB Networks immediately.
  • Report any damage immediately. If you have any concerns, no matter how small you think it is, please phone ESB Networks immediately at 1800 372 999. In an emergency situation the speed of your phone call could make all the difference and save someone from serious injury.
  • Emergency contact

    ESB Networks’ emergency number has changed to 1800 372 999. Take time to save it in your phone today.

    What if the worst happens? Take these steps to stay safe

    If a machine or its attachments come into contact with an overhead line, it could be fatal for anyone who touches the machine. These are the steps to take in the event of a hit on an overhead power line.

  • 1 Keep 10m clear: The driver of a vehicle that comes into contact with overhead lines will usually remain safe in the cab of the vehicle. Other people are at risk if they make simultaneous contact with the vehicle (and anything attached to it) and the ground. Keep everyone clear of the vehicle, at least 10m.
  • 2 Get help: you, or someone else, should contact ESB Networks’ emergency number (1800 372 999) immediately. If you have GPS coordinates or an EirCode for the location please pass them on to ESB Networks.
  • 3 Jump clear: if you must leave the cab, jump well clear and do not make contact with any part as you exit. Land on your feet and take small “baby” steps until you are 10m clear. Crawling is not a safe option.
  • 4 Stay clear: do not go back to the vehicle, even if you think it is safe to do so. It may still be live. Nobody should approach the vehicle until ESB Networks has confirmed that it is safe to do so.
  • Queries and advice

    ESB Networks is here to help. For general queries and advice, contact ESB Networks for information and advice at 1800 372 757 or 021 2386555 to speak with our contact centre. Contact ESB Networks at least four weeks in advance so that the work can be planned.

    Further information is available in ESB Networks’ Farm Safely With Electricity booklet and at: https://www.esbnetworks.ie/ staying-safe/farm-safety