Are you an agricultural student and want to win an all expenses paid trip to the Livestock Event and free admission to the Ploughing?

ESB Networks is running the farm safety competition and it is open to students in each of the six agricultural colleges.

In order to win, the participating students have to write an article (1,000 to 1,500 words typed) on electrical safety as it relates to current practice on farms they are familiar with (home, neighbours and relatives).

In their article entrants can make suggestions on how farm safety could be improved or if they prefer and are good at design they can produce a farm safely poster to promote best practice on farm.

The winning poster might then be used subsequently by ESB Networks for this purpose.

Speaking recently to agricultural students at the Teagasc college in Ballyhaise, Arthur Byrne, Public Safety Manager for ESB Networks highlighted the importance of staying vigilant when dealing with electricity and “getting into the habit of safety first, always”.

Byrne said that since the year 1995, 69 people have died after coming into contact with electricity and some of these tragic deaths involved the equipment and wiring on the premises or farms.

“Others occurred when machinery came into contact with overhead electricity wires on the land.

“In addition there have been many serious injuries (external and internal burns, pain, shock etc.) requiring hospitalisation and thousands of near misses.”

Eight of those who lost their lives were farmers and incidents included power washing on a farm and a silage harvester coming into contact with an overhead 10,000 volt line.

Byrne said that working near overhead power lines and having an unsafe or inadequately protected electrical installation are the main causes of electrical accidents on farms.

“Looking back over the decades, starting in the 30’s, I can tell you that the average number of deaths from electrocution is five, in recent years that has come down very significantly to about two per annum – but it needs to be zero.”