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With an incredibly busy time of year in the agricultural calendar, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is giving farmers and crofters the heads-up to always check for overhead power lines.

This year’s campaign slogan is ‘Look out, look up, look after yourself’ safety drive.

In the last 12 months, SSEN has seen a further reduction in the number of non-injury events in farms and fields across its network in the north of Scotland and central southern England, with 853 in 2021, compared to 865 in 2020 and 910 in 2019.

While these figures are trending in the right direction, SSEN is keen to reach as many farmers and agricultural contractors as possible and bring this number down even further.

To ensure their farm safety campaign was hitting the right note with its target audience, SSEN has been engaging with the farming community directly, and their feedback has influenced this year’s farm safety drive which includes radio, trade press, digital and social media advertising.

SSEN has produced the following advice to help famers stay safe when working near the electricity network:  

  • Before you head out on the farm, always check for power lines above you – ‘Look out, look up, look after yourself’.
  • If your farm machinery hits a power line: stay in the cab if safe, call 105 and wait for help.
  • Never touch an overhead line and don’t assume it’s dead – always assume it’s live unless, or until, the owner of the line has confirmed that it’s dead.
  • When machinery is in contact with an overhead line, anyone who touches both the machinery and the ground can be electrocuted. Stay in the machinery and lower raised parts in contact with the line or drive the machinery out of the line if you can.
  • If you need to get out, to call for help or because of fire, don’t climb out in the usual way – jump out as far as possible, without touching the line or the machinery, and don’t touch any part of the machinery when on the ground.
  • Call 105 and ask us to disconnect the supply. Even if the line appears dead, don’t touch it as automatic switching may reconnect the power.

Peter Vujanic, Head of Safety for SSEN Distribution said: “Our latest campaign, ‘Look out, look up, look after yourself’ – is all about giving farmers a quick heads up which could save lives and prevent life-changing injuries.

“We’re proud to describe this campaign as ‘informed by farmers, for farmers’, as our work with the agricultural community throughout the year has really helped to shape the way our campaign is being rolled out.”

Peter continued: “Thankfully we’ve seen a reduction in the number of non-injury events in farms and fields across our network. Around five workers every year are killed when the machinery they are operating comes close to, or into contact with, overhead electricity lines and so we hope that our campaign, and the advice we’re offering, will hopefully go a long way to bringing this number down even further so that everyone can get home safe at the end of their shift.

“The feedback we’ve received when speaking with farmers is that tiredness, loss of concentration and pressure to complete the job are still the main reasons our lines are struck – that’s why we’re urging anyone working on the farm this summer to not only look out and look up, but to also, ‘look after yourself’.