Regional, rural and remote communities form the backbone of NSW's agricultural industry and it is up to all stakeholders on the land to promote and ensure farm safety for all. Essential Energy continues to work closely with the agricultural industry to ensure safety is paramount across its electricity distribution network, where the biggest safety risk is machinery coming into contact with power lines and power poles.
Essential Energy's Manager for Community Relations Northern, David Crough, described public safety as a shared responsibility, particularly for those working on the land. "Essential Energy has a network that spans 95 per cent of NSW and parts of southern Queensland, and serves 1,500 rural, regional and remote communities, so a lot of our work is centered around electrical safety within the agricultural industry," he said. "Our campaigns focus on those working on farms and reinforce the need for farmers to remain alert to electrical hazards and aware of the location of our electrical infrastructure".
Essential Energy's online electrical safety information includes fact sheets on agribusiness and harvest safety, free safety stickers, and a practical instructional electrical safety video, while free maps of Essential Energy's overhead electricity network are available online.
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As GPS tracking and auto-steer technology is more heavily relied upon, the risk of farm machinery contacting power lines or power poles increases. David said that Essential Energy's 'LAND' campaign offered important safety advice for those working near the overhead electricity network during their daily farming activities and seasonal harvests. "The key safety messages of our LAND campaign are important and easy to remember to apply to everyday agricultural tasks".
- Look up and Live - mark overhead power lines at ground level
- Always be Aware - of the electricity network location and check for changes in condition before starting work
- Need to Know - the height of farm machinery and equipment, both when raised and lowered
- Don't Disembark - if your vehicle comes into contact with the overhead network.
David said if your machinery does contact overhead power lines, it's best to remain calm and stay in the vehicle until help arrives and the power has been turned off and all power lines removed. "If an emergency exit is necessary, jump well clear of the vehicle with your feet together. Don't touch the vehicle, fall forward or backward," he said. "Jump with your feet together until you are at least eight metres clear of the vehicle, power lines or anything else in contact with them".