Farming is among the more dangerous occupations for several reasons, but a big reason is the potential for encounters with electrical hazards says New Zealand’s leading farm consultants, AgSafe NZ.
Power lines carry electricity essential for the day to day running of the farm but it is also one of the deadliest hazards any modern farming operation faces.
Farmers need to locate and identify all overhead power lines as a risk and implement controls to manage the hazards effectively.
Keep power lines on your property in good condition is vital in keeping everyone on your farm safe from its risks.
If repairs are necessary, contact a registered electrician or your electricity supplier. “Don’t do it yourself. Always call in a professional whenever you need electrical work done, no matter how small the job is,” says Jim Findlay, Rural Consultant for AgSafe New Zealand Ltd. It’s not worth the risk when it comes to electricity.
Touching a power line is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury or even death. “It might not look like it, a dropped line can still be active. A person doesn’t even need to connect with the line, for the electricity to arc and reach earth through the person,” advises Jim.
The minimum safe distance for working near any overhead power line is four metres. This is recommended by the New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances. It is important to remember that the wires stretch in the warmer temperatures and contract in the cold so what might be a safe distance one day may not be safe another.
Farmers should also add their own requirements of additional distances to ensure safety against factors like the inadvertent movement of machines, and the use of safety observers to safeguard workers when repetitive tasks are being performed.
If working near an overhead power line cannot be avoided, follow the standard is called AS/NZS 3014 Electrical installations available from www.standards.co.nz. “This standard has detailed guides on how to safely manage the installation of fences below power lines,” adds Jim.
Contact AgSafe NZ Ltd:
Phone: 0274 587 724