Farmers warned after critical incidents

Crews check the damage to electricity infrastructure at one of the incidents which happened on May 14. Photo supplied.
Crews check the damage to electricity infrastructure at one of the incidents which happened on May 14. Photo supplied.

Despite earlier warnings, farmers are putting their lives at risk as they either forget or ignore warnings about using farm machinery around electricity infrastructure.

In the past 24 hours of May 14 there have been three tractor-hit pole incidents across South Australia which could have resulted in tragedy.

At Crystal Brook yesterday there was an accident involving a 132,000 volt line while two other incidents with 19,000 volt lines happened near Moonta, and Paruna.

SA Power Networks corporate affairs manager Paul Roberts said getting crops planted should not be a matter of life and death.

"We already have had several incidents this season where farm vehicles such as seeders have hit Stobie poles or powerlines while undertaking seeding," Mr Roberts said.

"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.

"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."

Mr Roberts said there was an average of about 20 on-farm incidents every year.

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 crews confirm the power is switched off. Others in the vicinity should keep well clear until the power line is confirmed safe.

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.
A stobie pole is damaged on a property located on the Eyre Peninsula. Photo supplied.

A stobie pole is damaged on a property located on the Eyre Peninsula. Photo supplied.

This story Farmers warned after critical incidents first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.