…that is the question.
Bear with us folks, we have been approached by many working in the industry confused about what they have read, heard or been taught about the dangers of working near overhead powerlines.
There are overhead power lines criss-crossing the country. Often unnoticed, they are essential to provide electricity to cities, towns, villages and our rural communities.
They carry voltages ranging from 230 volts (domestic voltage) up to 400,000 volts. And, for a task that the HSE report kills an average of two people and injures many more every year, it is important that there is no confusion when working with overhead power lines as contact with them rarely results in a minor injury.
So back to the question in hand – the first thing to say is that If you do come into contact with an overhead power line and the machine is not operable or cannot be driven clear of the line you should:
- Stay in the cab
- Phone the electricity network operator on 105 and tell them where you are – use What3Words if you need the exact location
- Tell everyone outside the vehicle not to approach it
- Do not exit the cab until you get given confirmation by the electricity network operator that it is safe to do so
However, if your farming vehicle or machine is inoperable or cannot be driven free and there is risk of fire or other immediate hazard:
- If you must get off, jump clear, take leaping strides – not Bunny Hops – so that one foot is off the ground at all times until you are at least 5 metres away
- Do not return to the vehicle unless told by the electricity network operator it is safe; and
- Keep others away from the vehicle. Touching it or even getting too close could kill them
So there you have it – STRIDE don’t HOP
For more information on working with overhead powerlines please visit
Energy Networks Association (ENA) – Look Out, Look Up! – Energy Networks Association (ENA)
Health & Safety Executive (HSE) – Agriculture: Electricity (hse.gov.uk)