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Budding farmers receive powerful advice

Agricultural students at Hadlow College, Tonbridge, will receive a powerful lesson in avoiding injury or death from farm equipment accidentally striking power lines.

From Press releases - 15 May 2018 12:00 AM

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In the last five years there were five deaths and 1,140 near-miss incidents involving machinery and equipment contacting overhead electricity lines across the UK. Each near-miss incident has the potential to kill or seriously injure the workers involved and causes power cuts.

Today UK Power Networks, which owns and runs Kent’s electricity network, is launching a new ‘Be Bright, Stay Safe’ campaign with 40 students who are studying for agricultural diplomas at Hadlow College. At the heart of the safety visit is a simple pledge to always ‘Look Out, Look Up’ to spot power lines and plan work to avoid clipping them when loading or unloading vehicles, using tipper wagons, trailers or stacking materials, ploughing, using irrigation pipes, ladders and combine harvesters.

The safety team will show the students a new video which emotively highlights the tragic consequences for a farmer and his family when his tractor hits a power line while stacking bales.

Safety adviser, Ros Forbes, said: “Everyone has the right to go home safely and we want to make sure these young students, on the cusp of a new life in farming, have a bright future ahead of them. Farming is a close-knit community and we hope today’s workshop will encourage the students to adopt safe working habits and become safety ambassadors themselves, speaking up whenever and wherever they spot potential risks.

“Young people can feel invincible and we hope this opens their eyes to the potential risks which are around them to keep them safe throughout their whole career. We give them an understanding of the type of incidents that can happen, the scale of the near misses and how each one could have resulted in a fatality. It is good for them to be aware of the potentially permanent, life-changing consequences of making contact with a power line as lasting good habits will keep them safe their whole lifetime.”

Adrian Denny, Team Leader for Agriculture and Land-based Technology at Hadlow College, added: “Farm safety is entrenched in all our teaching and learning, with students being made fully aware of the hazards in the industry and how to develop a mindful attitude from the very start of their agricultural studies. As well as their involvement with this campaign, our students have previously taken part in national farm safety events, such as NFU Farm Safety Foundation’s Yellow Wellies and Farm Safety Week campaigns. We’re very much responsible for embedding safety into the consciousness of the next generation of farmers, ensuring they are equipped with the necessary strategies to farm sensibly, reduce risk and maintain the great reputation that farming has in this country.”

UK Power Networks distributes electricity through overhead power lines on poles and pylons, substations and other equipment to 18 million people, including homes and businesses throughout Kent. Electricity systems carry voltage up to 400,000 volts and even 230 volts (domestic voltage) can be fatal.