Plan to stay safe at harvest

Essential Energy is urging farmers and agricultural workers to stay safe this harvest season, offering two key pieces of advice to those working in the industry. 

The first is simply ‘look up and live’, while the second is to take advantage of free maps of the overhead electricity network overlaid on property maps, which can be provided by Essential Energy upon request. 

The maps are available by calling 13 23 91 or visiting essentialenergy.com.au/overhead and following the ordering instructions. They are available in a number of formats. 

Regional manager northern Ben Williams said that by making themselves aware of the location of powerlines, people could identify potentially hazardous areas and go a long way towards avoiding accident, injury or worse. 

“Our first piece of advice is simply to look up before operating or transporting high machinery; the second is to request maps of the coverage area required, brief workers and highlight potential hazards and ‘no go’ areas,” he said. 

“Even better, make copies available for workers. Every year we have a number of incidents where machinery comes into contact with overhead powerlines and these are nearly always preventable.” 

He said harvesters and machinery operators should always proceed with caution near powerlines. 

“Visual indicators such as flag markers can be fixed to powerlines to warn workers,” Mr Williams said. “Essential Energy can fit the specialised line markers for a small cost. 

“At the end of a long day workers often feel fatigued and lose concentration and this is a danger period for when simple mistakes are made and farm accidents occur. That’s why it’s so important to highlight electrical infrastructure areas and mark them at ground level as well as above. 

“Identifying and avoiding electrical hazards is the key to an accident-free harvesting season, reducing downtime and possible loss of income.” 

Mr Williams said anyone who thought there may be an issue with powerline clearances on their property should contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91 and ask to have the clearance assessed now, rather than take the risk during the harvest period. 

Essential Energy also has electrical safety information available. Visit essentialenergy.com.au/safety to order safety stickers, download fact sheets and an electrical hazard assessment form, or view practical instructional safety videos at essentialenergy.com.au/agribusiness 

To report an accident involving an overhead powerline, contact Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.