Util­ity warns south coast farm­ers of pow­er­line dan­gers

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS -

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.”

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