Farmers warned power lines danger

Farmers are being warned about the dangers of power lines during harvest, especially when using lifting equipment or GPS steering.

This warning comes from Western Power Distribution (WPD), which covers Shropshire, as well as the rest of the Midlands, the South West and Wales.

The warning comes after a number of problems in the past.

Engineers from the company responded to reports of a leaning pole and low overhead lines in a field at Minsterley. It was later discovered that the pole had been hit by a harvester causing the lines to drop. The pole was replaced and the lines were raised to a safe height.

A farmer also reversed a JCB vehicle into a wooden pole supporting overhead lines at Chirbury, causing it to fall to the ground. The farmer was not hurt and WPD engineers repaired the pole and restored the overhead lines to their original position.

Most farming incidents involving electricity are linked to vehicles with elevating equipment, such as spray booms or cabbage harvesters, which make contact with overhead lines.

Others are caused by vehicles using GPS steering, which may not take into account obstacles such as electricity poles, resulting in potentially catastrophic collisions.

The latest figures show that at least one agricultural accident involving overhead lines is reported every day – up by more than 100 a year, from 263 in 2013 to 378 in 2018.

Eddie Cochrane, WPD Safety Adviser, said: “Accidents like these involving harvesting machinery or similar equipment and GPS can all be avoided if farm workers are vigilant.

“WPD is always happy to give advice to farmers on working around our network and send safety literature on request. If a farmer suspects the lines across his or her land may be a bit low, we’ll come out and measure them for free and work with the farmer to maintain safety.”

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