Power farming – take care


Farmers, who are taking advantage of opening season rain, are being reminded about the deadly threat posed by power lines on their properties. Source: The Recorder

“The deaths of two farmers in Queensland in March and April are tragic reminders of the danger from power lines on farms,” said Paul Roberts, spokesman for SA Power Networks.

A range of power lines criss-cross South Australian farms including Single Wire Earth Return, or SWER lines, which carry 19,000 volts and constitute about 30% of the State’s electricity distribution network.

These SWER lines are difficult to see.

“We often respond to outages that have been caused by activity on farms during intense work periods such as planting or harvesting,” Mr Roberts said. “It is a matter of luck that we have not had any recent deaths in South Australia.”

“Incidents happen in all kinds of situations, from people operating tip trucks, augers, headers, excavators, elevating work platforms, scissor-lifts and spray booms, to assembling of irrigation pipes and even scaffolding.

“A new issue that has emerged in recent years is the use of GPS for guiding ever-bigger farm machinery.”

Mr Roberts said the fatalities in Queensland had involved boom sprays contacting power lines and showed the threat posed by operating tall or wide machinery around power lines.

“Farm workers should always carry out a safety check before starting a task.” he said.