SSEN teams up with young farmers to spread harvest safety advice

As farmers embark on a busy harvest season, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is teaming up with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) to raise awareness of the serious, potentially fatal, consequences of striking an overhead power line when out in the fields.

With so much of a farmer’s attention focused on what is happening in front of the cab during harvest, it can be too easy to forget what’s overhead and end up striking a power line or its wooden pole, and so SSEN has joined up with the SAYFC in an attempt to share their safety advice and prevent any such accidents.

SSEN has worked with Aimee Budge, a farmer on Shetland and a safety mentor with the SAYFC, to produce a series of short videos, each of which offers up a bite-sized chunk of advice which they hope will resonate with farmers browsing their phones on a break from the harvest.

Aimee said: 

“When my colleagues at the SAYFC asked for volunteers to work with SSEN Distribution I was really keen to help. I’ve attended one of their farm safety seminars in the past and found it invaluable and so was only too glad to help with these videos.”

The videos will be featuring across both partners’ social media and is part of SSEN’s new safety campaign which launched in May.

Speaking of the campaign, Jenny Campbell, Regional Manager, from SAYFC said:

“Harvest season is such a busy time in the farming calendar, and it’s so important that everyone stays safe as they work hard out in the fields. We’re really pleased to be working alongside SSEN Distribution to share this important information, and we hope that this year’s short, impactful, video format will help the safety message spread even further across our community.”

Ian Crawley, SSEN’s Network Operational Safety Manager, added: 

“We want to support our farming communities and help them stay accident-free throughout the year, and with this partnership with the SAYFC we hope we’ll be able to engage with even more farmers and their contractors as we head into what can be the busiest time for many in the industry.”

SSEN and the SAYFC are offering the following safety advice for everyone heading out into the field:

  • ‘Look out, look up!’ before you start work in any areas where electricity lines are present.
  • Risk assess and be aware of the height of any machinery that will be in use near power lines and ensure there’s plenty of clearance – remember that electricity can ‘jump’ if an object comes near enough.
  • If you do come in to contact with an overhead line, stay in your cab or vehicle and try to avoid touching anything metal within it.
  • Call 105 immediately – this is the UK-wide single emergency number for power companies and is the quickest way to put you through to the correct network operator.
  • If the situation is too dangerous to stay put, for example, if the machinery is affected by fire, it’s advised that you leap out of the vehicle as high and as far as you can to avoid touching any part of the machinery or electricity network.

If you would like further information on staying safe when working near power lines, please visit ssen.co.uk/farm-safety.

The Health and Safety Executive website also contains more detailed information on the full range power lines farmers are likely to encounter, as well as invaluable advice for working safely near them.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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