With silage-cutting season underway, ESB Networks is reminding farmers and silage contractors of the serious risks associated with working near electricity wires.

The electricity provider stressed that people should, at all times, keep well clear of overhead electricity lines.

The minimum safe distance is 3m, horizontally and vertically. Give more space for high voltage lines, the ESB warned.

It was highlighted that you do not have to touch electricity wires to be in serious danger. Coming close to these live wires is just as hazardous and can be fatal, the semi-state body stressed.

ESB Networks has recently responded to several safety incidents involving the electricity network in recent weeks.

In addition it was stressed that, in the past, there have been serious electrical accidents which have taken place involving silage machinery, both in the silage field and at the silage pit.

Accidents are preventable by taking care and recognising an unsafe situation. Never take chances with electricity, the provider warned.

ESB Networks reminds everyone involved of these important safety messages:
  • Never carry out work that brings you close to electricity wires as they are always live and can jump gaps;
  • Watch out for overhead electricity wires when using tall machinery;
  • Steer clear of electricity poles and stay wires. Report anything unusual to ESB Networks;
  • Never touch or come close to fallen wires or handle stock where there are fallen wires nearby;
  • Avoid crossing beneath overhead lines and always work parallel to the line;
  • Poles and overhead lines must never be close to a silage pit. If they are closer than 6m, contact ESB Networks to relocate. Do not work until it is advised it is safe to do so;
  • When carrying out timber or hedge-clearing work, first check that there are no electrical wires nearby. If there are wires in the vicinity, do not proceed and contact ESB Networks;
  • A changed farm layout could mean overhead wires are a new hazard, with farmers urged to contact ESB for advice;
  • Contact ESB Networks immediately on: 1850-372-999 – asa 24/7 service, all farmers and silage contractors are urged to store this number in their mobile phone.

If a machinery operator is involved in an incident with live electricity wires, ESB Networks advises that the driver stays in the cab, keep everyone clear and call the firm’s emergency number immediately on: 1850-372-999.

An ESB spokesperson added:

“If you do need to exit the cab, jump clear and take short steps until at least 10m away. Do not return to the scene until ESB Networks confirms it is safe.

“Remember: There are no second chances with electricity.

If you have any other concerns about overhead wires, poles, or stays, or if you see something unusual – stay clear and immediately contact ESB Networks.

“ESB Networks staff will always respond to these emergencies, but it is each person’s responsibility to recognise the potential for danger and act safely where there are risks associated with electricity.

“Always stay safe and stay clear of electricity wires,” the spokesperson concluded.