Utility warns south coast farmers of powerline dangers
Esperance grain growers are being warned to tighten up on safety measures after a spate of potentially dangerous incidents involving powerlines.
During the past year, Horizon Power has recorded 20 incidents in the Esperance area — 12 of them occurring during the seeding and harvesting seasons.
Horizon Power Goldfields Esperance retail and community man- ager Donna Gibson said it was vital farmers educated themselves and their workers about the hazards associated with working near overhead powerlines.
“The bottom line is that we don’t want farmers and their workers injured or worse — including when there is a possibility of fire, as it can be very devastating to the community,” she said.
“A fire caused by a fallen power- line has the potential to spread to other parts of the community, risking the lives of many people.
“Fire also destroys assets and crops and will hinder Horizon Power’s efforts to restore power.”
Ms Gibson pointed to a recent incident in Esperance in which a harvester brought down a 19,000volt powerline and several other lines, starting a crop fire.
Gibson Bush Fire Brigade cap- tain Blake Halford said farmers should give clear instructions to employees and monitor fatigue levels.
“It’s in everybody’s best interest to stay vigilant when working around powerlines to avoid costly or fatal mistakes,” he said.
Ms Gibson said many farm workers had been seriously injured as a result of contacting powerlines while moving or installing augers or lifting grain probes, and irrigation pipes.
“Farmers should look around their properties and know the location of the powerlines and make a considered effort to induct new workers about these hazards,” she said.“Above all, farmers need to review their activities and work practices near powerlines — especially those of workers who may be driving or moving machinery.”