With silage season well underway in Longford, ESB Networks have issued a reminder to farmers and silage contractors of the major risks associated with working near overhead electricity wires.
They warn that 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 at the silage pit. Contact, or even near contact, with electricity lines can be fatal, they warn.
The ESB advise that the minimum safe distance between overhead wires and machinery is 3 metres, horizontally and vertically, but greater for higher voltage lines.
ESB Networks advises the farming community of the following precautions to put into practice every time:
- Watch out for poles and stay wires.
- Steer clear.
- Identify where poles and stays are in the field and avoid coming within 3 metres. You may need to physically ‘red flag’ them.
- 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, you must contact ESB Networks to re-locate. Do not work until ESB Networks advises that it is safe to do so.
- Anyone who may have any concerns about overhead wires, poles, or stays, are urged to contact the ECB emergency number at 1850 372 999 ( 24 hour/ 7 day service).
In an accident situation, where any part of the machine is in contact with the electricity line/ equipment, ESB Networks have advised farmers to follow these steps:
- Stay in the cab;
- Keep everyone else clear of the scene, by 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 to the cab.
- Do not, under any circumstances, touch the line or anything the line may be in contact with.
or further information see https://www.esbnetworks.ie/staying-safe/farm-safety