Horizon reminds farmers to work safely near electricity

Red harvester in crops with electricity pole nearby (horizon farmer)
Image: Horizon Power

Ahead of this year’s seeding season, Horizon Power is reminding farmers to be vigilant around electrical equipment.

Western Australia’s regional energy provider has urged farmers and growers to be mindful of powerlines, power poles and other electrical infrastructure that can present serious safety risks on farms or agricultural properties.

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Horizon Power executive general manager operations Mick Veverka said, “With seeding season approaching it is a timely reminder for farmers to familiarise themselves and their workers with the location of all electrical infrastructure on or near their property.

“Community safety is our top priority. Most incidents we see are related to a heavy vehicle coming into contact with a pole or line, and accidents occurring while trees are being trimmed,” he explained.

“As well as overhead power lines it is important to know where underground powerlines are buried.

“Even though cables are out of sight, they can be very dangerous if accidentally struck or damaged. Equipment operators and workers are also reminded to be aware of specified exclusion zones and the height and reach of equipment being used.”

Horizon Power manages the distribution of power to homes, businesses, and communities in the Goldfields/Esperance region. In Esperance, a substantial proportion of Horizon Power’s electricity infrastructure (poles and wires) cut through or run adjacent to large farm properties.

Farm machinery hitting power poles and pulling down overhead powerlines can cause electric shocks, resulting in serious injury or death. Customers should also be aware they don’t need to come into direct contact with powerlines to receive an electric shock, as electricity can ‘jump’ or arc across air gaps.

“Damage to electrical infrastructure can also cause fires, which have the potential to spread to other parts of the community. Repairing or replacing damaged assets is costly and can result in extended power outages,” Veverka explained.

Horizon Power recommends property owners inspect their private electricity infrastructure at least once a year for any signs of visible deterioration and consider marking the location of power poles and powerlines with reflective, high-visibility tape.

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Plant and machinery such as irrigation pipes, grain augers, elevators, grain silos, cranes and excavators all have the potential to come into contact with powerlines.

“It is important for farmers to review their activities and to remember to always observe safe work practices near electrical infrastructure, especially when they may be driving or moving machinery.”

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