Farmers warned of overhead power lines

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NIE Networks is warning Mid Ulster farmers that ‘safety must come first’ when working near overhead power lines and poles.

The warning comes on the back of national Farm Safety Week that began on Monday. The week aims to remind farmers of the dangers around the farm and the dangers of working close to overhead power lines.

Kevin McDowell, Head of Health, Safety and Environment at NIE Networks said, “Spreading the message about safety on the farm is vitally important. Every year members of the agricultural community or their contractors are injured or killed due to accidental contact with overhead power lines.

“Farm Safety Week is a good opportunity to remind farmers that when cutting hedgerows, trimming trees, spraying crops or cutting silage, they make themselves aware of where there are electricity poles or overhead power lines.

“This message is particularly important at this time of year with farmers taking advantage of the good weather to work on the farm.

“We are urging all agricultural workers to ‘look up, look out’ and to ensure that when operating heavy machinery they stay at least five metres from overhead power lines.”

Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE NI) said more farmers need to change their behaviour in an effort to prevent deaths on farms.

Seven people were killed on NI farms in 2017, and there have been two deaths in the first six months of this year. As many as 100 people are injured on farms across Northern Ireland every month, said the HSE NI.

Most accidents happen as a result of falls, livestock, slurry or incidents involving equipment.