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ESB Networks warning to farmers and silage contractors in advance of silage cutting

21 May 2019

At this time of year, ESB Networks is reminding farmers and silage contractors of the major risks associated with working near overhead electricity wires. Coming close to these live wires is extremely hazardous and can be fatal.

Very serious electrical accidents have taken place involving silage machinery, both in the silage field and at the silage pit.

Contact, or even near contact, with electricity lines can be fatal.

The minimum safe distance is 3 metres, horizontally and vertically; it is more for higher voltage lines.

Accidents are preventable with advance planning and safe behaviours. ESB Networks advises the farming community of the following precautions to put into practice every time:

  • Watch out for poles and stay wires.
  • Steer clear.
  • Identify where poles and stays are in the field and avoid coming within 3 metres. You may need to physically ‘red flag’ them.
  • 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 6 metres, you must contact ESB Networks to re-locate. Do not work until ESB Networks advises that it is safe to do so.
If you have concerns about overhead wires, poles, or stays, please phone this number immediately. In an emergency, the speed of your phone call could make all the difference.

The emergency contact number is 1850 372 999 ( 24 hour/ 7 day service). We advise all farmers and contractors to store this number in their mobile phone.

In an accident situation, where any part of the machine is in contact with the electricity line/ equipment, follow these steps:
  • Stay in the cab;
  • Keep everyone else clear of the scene, by at least 5 metres;
  • Phone ESB Networks immediately;
  • If possible, reverse out of the contact situation;
  • If you exit the cab (e.g. because of fire) , jump clear and take short steps until you are 5 metres clear;
  • Do not return to the cab.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, touch the line or anything the line may be in contact with.
Please check out our website for further information at: