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Farming students sow the seeds of safety

Farming students at Hadlow College in Tonbridge have learned not to risk their lives through accidental contact with the electricity network.

From Press releases - 15 November 2019 12:00 AM

Farm students sow the seeds of safety.jpg

Britain’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, led safety workshops for 60 industry newcomers at the college’s Yellow Wellies Farm Safety event on Tuesday.

Agriculture remains one of Britain’s highest risk sectors for workplace injuries, so UK Power Networks is helping ingrain safe working habits among the next generation of farmers.

The students were encouraged to use the location app what3words on their mobile phones to quickly report damaged power lines to UK Power Networks. The app comes into its own in rural areas by providing three unique words for every three square metres of land. It can help UK Power Networks to identify precise locations where damage has occurred so the company can switch off the power, making the network safe for those at the scene.

Safety adviser, Ros Forbes, said: “There are a lot of near misses with the electricity network on farms and every near miss is a potential fatality. Our message is to know where the network is, include that information on the farm map and keep machinery away from the network.

“We made the students aware of the fact that agricultural machinery and vehicles, when extended, can exceed the height of the electricity wires and that certain jobs, such as stacking and storing crops should not be done within 10-metres of the network.

“When people are familiar with their environment they stop noticing the electricity network around them. They may work on different farms and not know where the electrical equipment is. It is always important to be aware of the electricity network and work safely around it.

“The message did hit home and we showed the students a video which depicts what can go wrong. We are getting the vital safety messages across to young people so when they start work they will maintain good safety habits that will keep them safe.”

Ronnie Townsend, Health and Safety Officer, Hadlow College, added: “As a college, we are committed to ensuring our students take farm safety very seriously and are here to support them every step of the way. It’s great to have an outside organisation like UK Power Networks reinforcing that message through their workshops.”

In the event of damage to the electricity network, keep away and call UK Power Networks’ 24hr emergency helpline on 105 or 0800 3163 105.