Horizon Power is urging farmers to be vigilant around electrical infrastructure following a series of safety-critical incidents involving overhead powerlines.
In 2021, twelve incidents were recorded where heavy machinery came into contact with poles and powerlines on farms around Esperance. Contact with live wires poses a significant safety risk to those involved, including electric shock and electrocution.
Horizon Power’s General Manager Operations, Tiri Sanderson, said community safety is always top priority and asked farmers to continue to educate themselves and their workers about the hazards of working near overhead powerlines.
“The bottom line is that we don’t want anyone to be hurt – or worse. Serious injury, loss of life and fire are very real risks posed by farming accidents involving electrical network assets, and each of them can be devastating to the community,” Ms Sanderson said.
“A fire caused by a fallen powerline has the potential to spread quickly, risking the lives of many people. It can also destroy property, assets and crops and will delay our efforts to restore power.”
“We encourage farmers to make it very clear to their workers where powerlines are located, and to monitor worker fatigue. For those with GPS or autosteer, mapping the position of power poles will significantly reduce the risk of connecting with them.”
Here are some tips for staying safe this season:
- Educate new workers about electrical safety hazards.
- Identify power poles and powerlines on and around your property.
- Mark power poles with high-visibility tape, available from agricultural suppliers.
- Powerlines may appear to be higher or lower than they are, depending on the angle from which they are viewed. Be aware of how high powerlines are from the ground, and ensure vehicles and machinery are well below this height if you intend to move them under powerlines.
- Don’t take risks. Call Horizon Power in advance to schedule the disconnection of a powerline so you can work safely near or under it.
- If your vehicle comes into contact with a power pole or powerline, don’t jump off the vehicle, as the ground around you may be live and you could be electrocuted. Stay in the vehicle and call 000 or Horizon Power on 13 23 51. If it is too dangerous to remain in the vehicle, hop away with both feet landing on the ground simultaneously, shuffling one foot forward at little at a time, never letting the heel of one foot move past the toe of the other, until you are at least 10 metres clear.
If you have private powerlines or poles on your property, remember it is your responsibility to inspect and maintain them. Horizon Power recommends property owners inspect their private electricity infrastructure at least once a year for any signs of visible deterioration. Never climb a power pole and remember to call on the experts to make repairs.
For more information visit the Energy Safety website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/energysafety and search for private power poles.
If you are unsure about whether you are responsible for the powerlines or poles on your property, contact your local Horizon Power office.
Horizon Power acknowledges the Traditional Custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased people.