Electrical Safety on Farms Video Launched

Minister Martin Heydon TD and Minister Neale Richmond TD have together launched an Electrical Safety Video for Irish farmers.

The video was produced by the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC) and shows John Stone, a dairy farmer from Co. Westmeath, demonstrating the changes he has made and the checks he carries out around electricity to make his farm safer.

The FSPAC is an advisory committee to the board of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). This video was developed by members of FSPAC’s Buildings, Working at Height Working Group that includes representation from ESB Networks, the HSA, Teagasc, FBD Insurance, DAFM and the construction industry.

Commenting on the Electrical Safety for Farms videoMinister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Farm SafetyMartin Heydon TD said, “this video demonstrates the need for all farmersto check the electrical supply and outputs in their yards and buildings. Doing so makes the farm safe, not only for them, but all visitors and workers on the farm. I’d urge all farmers to set aside time to check their electrical supplies, look at what improvements may be needed, and use a registered contractor to complete the required updates. Minimise the risks and make sure your farm uses electricity safely. I’d like to congratulate the collaborators on this video, the Farm Safety Partnership, Building and Working at Height Working Group and John Stone for creating an importance resource for farmers.”

On launching this FSPAC safety video Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond TD added that “this Electrical Safety video shows the importance of the collaborative efforts of the FSPAC in creating safety videos and guidance for Irish farmers. These efforts are assisting farmers make better decisions keeping them and others safe on their farms. The ESB are an important member of the HSA’s Farm Safety Partnership Working Group and play a key advisory role in helping Irish farmers achieve safer ways of working with electricity supply. I look forward to working alongside my colleague Minister Heydon and the HSA, ensuring that Irish farmers are well equipped with the guidance and supports needed in order to achieve a safer, productive farming business.”   

The key learning points of the video on electrical safety on farms are:

  • All electrical work must be carried out by a registered electrical contractor in accordance with ETCI rules.
  • A well-maintained electrical installation on a farm will minimise the risk of an electrical safety incident and avoid breakdowns.
  • To prevent electric shock from portable equipment, fit residual current devices (RCDs) on all socket circuits.
  • To ensure RCDs work properly, they must be tested at least every 6 months by pressing the test-trip button.
  • Faulty electrical installations can result in farm fires.
  • Stray electricity can increase mastitis problems on dairy farms.

According to ESB Networks, the top seven electrical hazards on farms are; fallen electricity wires, wiring installation, portable tools, bonding and stray voltage, electric fences, stand-by generators, machinery and high loads

Michael Murray, Public Safety Manager at ESB Networks and member the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee stated that “I am delighted to introduce this important video on electrical safety on farms. Electricity is essential for our economy. It is so much a part of modern living that we often take it for granted but complacency around electrical installations on the farm can lead to injury or more serious negative outcomes. This farm safety video outlines potential electrical hazards to be aware of around the farm and the key safety checks and tips that will help you to plan ahead and keep you, your family and your livestock safe.”

Although the HSA have seen considerable progress made in upgrading electrical installations on farms over the last decade, sub-standard electrical installations and equipment are still found on Irish farms. Poorly maintained installations, particularly those outdoors and in wet conditions, present a significant risk of electrocution.

The HSA have reported three fatalities in the period 2013 – 2022, where the fatality or injury was triggered by an Electrical problem in an agricultural setting.

Mark Cullen, Interim CEO, HSA stated, “important work is being carried out by the FSPAC, and having guidance and videos showcasing the need to carry out safety updates on your farms electrical supplies is crucial. In the ten year period 2013 – 2022, three farm fatalities involved electricity. These were preventable workplace fatalities. Where electrical equipment is not to the correct standard or is not well maintained there is a risk of electrocution. Those at risk include the farmer and anyone entering the farm that may come in contact with faulty electrical equipment or overhead cables. We ask all farmers to remain diligent and carry out risk assessments on electrical supplies on their farms.”

The FSPAC and the HSA would like to thank John Stone, the Westmeath dairy farmer who participated in the video.

Source: Health & Safety Authority

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