Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group Chairman Andrew Hoggard is backing a Powerco initiative to keep farmers safe around power lines on their properties.
The farm power line safety campaign, being run initially in Manawatu, is being fronted by Mr Hoggard who runs a 300 hectare dairy farm at Kiwitea near Feilding. High voltage power lines cut across his farm and provide electricity to other properties in the Kiwitea area.
“I decided to get behind this project because there is a lot of focus right now on farm health and safety. Safety around power lines should be a simple one – if you are doing work around them, you certainly don’t want to hit them. Contact with power lines can be extremely dangerous or fatal.
“There are a lot of power lines in the rural area. Over time they just become part of the landscape and you can be complacent around them and not register they are there. It doesn’t matter how long you have been on a property, if you get complacent accidents can happen.”
Mr Hoggard is the face of a farm safety video Powerco is showing here, through social media and at its stand at the Central Districts Field Days. Mr Hoggard will also be popping into the Powerco stand at the field days, from March 17 to 19 at Manfeild Park, Feilding.
Powerco Group Health Safety Environment and Quality Manager Julie McAvoy says overhead power lines are prevalent in the rural communities the company distributes electricity.
“Safety is a top priority for Powerco and it is important to educate farmers about the dangers above their heads. Complacency around power lines can kill. You or your tools don’t have to touch a power line to get a shock. Even close contact can cause serious injury or death to you or others near you.
“It’s particularly important at this time of the year when large harvesting equipment is being brought on to land, for farmers and their contractors to know where the power lines are and stay well clear.
“Powerco is thrilled that Mr Hoggard has chosen to help spread the rural power line safety message,” Mrs McAvoy said.
To keep safe around overhead power lines on their properties, farmers should:
• Be aware at all times where the overhead lines are in and around their property.
• Keep themselves, machinery and workers at least 4 metres away from the lines. If you simply can’t avoid working near overhead power lines or passing underneath them, be on your guard. Keep equipment in the lowered position.
• Before using high machinery, plan a route that keeps you away from power lines.
• Treat every power line as live at all times – even downed lines.