Despite a recent SA Power Networks warning to farmers at the onset of a seeding season not to “put their lives at risk” by tangling with electricity infrastructure on their properties, there have been three tractor-hit pole incidents in 24 hours in South Australia.
There have been incidents at Boors Plains near Moonta on Yorke Peninsula and Paruna in the Murraylands involving 19,000 Volt lines, and Electranet also had an incident involving a 132,000 Volt line near Crystal Brook in the Mid North.
“Each of these incidents has involved tractors undertaking on-farm work and every one of them had the potential to trigger a tragedy,” SA Power Networks corporate affairs manager Paul Roberts said.
“Getting the crops planted should not be a matter of life or death.
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“While we can only urge farmers to be powerline aware, there is a clear need within the rural sector to address this issue as lives are at risk. We know everyone wants to take advantage of some good and long-awaited rain, but not at any cost.”
“It’s an issue that needs to be discussed at family breakfast – because it is families who will be affected if something goes wrong. And it is an issue to be addressed before any job is undertaken on the farm. It’s not hard to identify the poles and wires in a paddock before starting work. That simple action might save a life and lot of heartache.”
What to do if you contact a powerline
When equipment comes into contact with powerlines call SA Power Networks immediately on 13 13 66 and (preferably) do not move from the vehicle until our crews confirm the power is switched off. Others in the vicinity should keep well clear until the power line is confirmed safe.
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If it is necessary to evacuate the vehicle to prevent injury, several steps must be followed to maximise your safety, including:
• Jump out and well clear of the vehicle, ensuring you do not contact the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
• Calmly walk well clear of the vehicle using very small steps.
• Do not return to the vehicle until after the area has been made safe by SA Power Networks’ crews.
• Keep other people well clear.
In a power emergency call 13 13 66. For an ambulance or police assistance, call 000.