PHIL INGLEBY writes our weekly agriculture column, WORD ON THE GROUND
We all know that farming can be a dangerous occupation, however, I was staggered by some of the numbers involved whilst in a discussion with one of my good friends who works for one of the electricity networks.
He explained that data from the Health & Safety Executive revealed that in the last five years there were five deaths as a result of contact with an overhead power line.
In addition, there were also 1,140 near-miss incidents involving machinery and equipment contacting overhead electric power lines where serious injury or death was a possibility.
Worryingly, there were 39 incidents of contact with power lines in just four weeks of the 2017 harvest period, clearly creating the potential for more than one fatality per day.
The risk to farm workers of course is not only during harvest but all year round.
Annually, approximately 225 incidents occur where farm vehicles and machinery make contact with overhead lines.
As a result, the UK’s electricity network operators have joined forces to ensure those working in the agricultural industry understand the dangers of working near power lines, in a bid to reduce the number of incidents that take place each year.
Their call for safer working on farms comes in the form of a new campaign – Look Out Look Up! which encourages people to plan ahead to avoid contact with overhead power lines and to know what to do if contact is made. Search for the campaign online for lots of further information and video.