Round two of Rotamarker rebate is expected to improve farm safety

Queensland farmers can now access round two of rebates for the installation of overhead warning markers which indicate powerlines, making their rural workplaces safer.

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has again partnered with Ergon Energy Network and Energex to offer farmers belonging to any of QFF’s 21 industry members a 50% co-contribution to install up to 10 Rotamarkers on their properties.

QFF CEO Jo Sheppard said whilst farm safety statistics are improving, there is still a lot more work to be done, remembering that statistics are not just numbers, they are human lives that are lost or impacted because of a farm accident.

Queensland farmers are working hard to create a stronger safety culture across the sector, and it is encouraging to see positive results, but now is not the time for complacency.

“Overhead power lines on farm can pose a significant electrocution hazard. Any farming business with overhead powerlines on their property, especially within close proximity or directly overhead of farming activities, should have a powerline safety plan in place and install rotamarkers to increase visibility and reduce the risk of contact.

“Last year, there were 54 agricultural incidents involving overhead powerline contact across Queensland.  Powerlines can be very difficult to see and the installation of rotamarkers are a practical and effective measure to reduce the risk of contact.

“QFF are pleased to partner with Ergon Energy Network and Energex in supporting Queensland farmers to install up to 10 rotamarkers on their farm and I encourage all eligible farmers to take advantage of this offer. Do not delay, one life lost on farm is one life too many.”

For Queensland electricity distributors Ergon Energy Network and Energex, the program offers a vital avenue to boost uptake of potentially life-saving powerline markers as well as the free Look-Up-And-Live powerline mapping tool.

“The rotamarkers are proven to be visually arresting, and they’ve been engineered so that we can safely install them on our network to pinpoint overhead powerlines in areas where machinery is operated, making it safer for everyone,” Executive General Manager Michael Dart said.

“Eligibility criteria for the QFF rotamarker program includes that applicants have downloaded our Look Up And Live mapping app which gives farmers a simple oversight of what lines are on or near their property, helping people to decide which control measures are needed to protect them and their workers.

“We’ve worked closely with the ag, construction, aviation and transport sectors to understand their risks and needs, and to collaboratively come up with strategies to manage the dangers these industries face – this rotamarker partnership with QFF is a great practical extension of this commitment.”

Head of Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office, Ms Donna Heelan said that in the past six years, 52 serious electrical incidents have happened in Queensland involving overhead powerlines, and six people have died. People most at risk are farmers, construction workers and transport workers.

“Contact with overhead powerlines is one of the most persistent and problematic electrical safety risks in Queensland,” Ms Heelan said.

“Its important producers take the time to identify potential risks on farms, power lines near sheds and silos, for example, and communicate these clearly to all staff, no matter how long they have worked with you.”

“I applaud this initiative from QFF and Energex and Ergon Energy Network, and I encourage all rural property owners to take advantage.”

For more information about the rebate and eligibility criteria, go to: https://www.qff.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/QFF-Look-up-and-Live-Flyer-Feb22.pd

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