A DRIVE to make farmers in Ceredigion aware of the dangers of working near live electricity and overhead power lines has been launched by SP Energy Networks.

As the owner and maintainer of the electricity supply in north Wales, SP Energy Networks is committed to ensuring farmers and agricultural workers know how to stay safe when working near live electricity.

A team attended the Aberystwyth Show in June to increase awareness and provide information and answer questions around staying safe when working near overhead lines or underground cables.

As platinum show sponsor, SP Energy Networks was also sponsoring the sheep shearing competition.

In addition to increasing awareness of electrical safety, the SP Energy Networks community relations team was onsite to support local residents as work continues on several major projects in the area to improve the power network, and were available to answer any customer queries.

Stephen Stewart, director at SP Energy Networks, said: “It’s really important that farmers and agricultural workers are aware of the dangers around electricity and how to keep safe when working near it. Electrical incidents on farms can include anything from operating machinery or equipment too close to power lines, to live cables falling on the ground.

“At SP Energy Networks, we are committed to supporting people in the Ceredigion community. The Aberystwyth Show was a great opportunity to connect with locals and share our safety through interactive activities. In the event of a power line falling on your land, we would advise taking extreme caution. Power lines can remain live, even if they appear unaffected, so it’s essential to keep people and livestock away, then contact SP Energy Networks via our emergency hotline number.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive three farm workers lost their lives when their vehicles made contact with overhead power lines in Britain during 2016/17.

Every year there are also hundreds of incidents which damage equipment and many more ‘near-misses’.

“As farm machinery is getting bigger and taller the risk of contact is increasing," said a spokesman. "The safest option is to avoid working near overhead lines altogether but if this isn’t possible make sure you have properly planned the work and have the right machinery for the job. Choosing machinery that will not reach more than 4m from the ground will greatly reduce the risk.

“Make sure you identify the location of overhead power lines are on your farm and know the safe clearance distances required. You can speak to SP Energy Networks for advice. Then make sure all farm workers and contractors know about the power lines, what they must do to avoid them or reduce the risks, and what action to take if they do contact an overhead power line or find one that is fallen or damaged.”

For more information about SP Energy Networks and its services, visit: spenergynetworks.co.uk

In the event of a power outage or incident, please contact the SP Energy Networks emergency hotline by calling 105 or 0800 001 5400.