Electricity Danger To Farmers

3 June 2007

Farmers throughout the UK are being urged to be aware of the dangers of overhead power lines that traverse the countryside.

Overhead power lines are essential to the UK’s power grid and supply electricity to all towns, cities, villages and hamlets.

Built mainly through fields to avoid contact with the public, farmers are particularly susceptible to the danger of letting machinery collide with these lines and causing severe injuries – five people die every year by letting this happen.

Power lines are easily confused with telephone lines and can carry voltages from 230 up to 400,000. Even touching a 230 volt line can be fatal and even the lowest voltage lines can produce 10,000 times the amount of current needed to kill a person.These can be easily missed even in daytime but farmers who often work at dusk and dawn will find it harder to spot them.

The Energy Networks Association has compiled a range of leaflets to warn people that work and enjoy spending time outdoors, about the dangers they face and offer advice on how to stay safe. As well as advice about where to locate maps of overhead line routes, the leaflet for farmers offers sensible advice about how to avoid the danger and what to do if a situation occurs.

Energy Networks Association head of safety, health and environment Peter Coyle said: "This advice may seem like common sense but it’s so easy to misjudge heights and distances, especially when tired or in bad light.

"Even jets of pesticides or water can have severe consequences of coming into contact with the lines and cause injury or damage to property.

Detailed advice is available at the Energy Networks Association website, at www.energynetworks.org and, for landowners and outdoor pursuits organisers, from local electricity companies."