Safety on the farm
Electrical safety on farms and rural properties
Farmers are more likely to die at work than any other Victorian worker – about 30% of work place deaths occur on farms.
Call in a professional whenever you need electrical work done, no matter how small the job. Don’t Do It Yourself – it’s illegal and it can be deadly.
Financial pressures can mean that many farmers work long hours or potentially cut corners with maintenance. It’s not worth the risk when it comes to electricity.
Make sure electrical installations and equipment are kept in good working order. If there’s a problem don’t risk your own safety or the safety of your workers – always call in a licensed electrician, no matter how remote you are or how small the job.
Tips for staying safe
- Never ignore minor shocks and tingles as these can be signs of a bigger electrical problem.
- Turn off water pumps before entering the water and touching or checking the equipment.
- Don’t try to fix submersible pumps yourself – electricity and water is a deadly combination – a young Victorian farmer was electrocuted in January 2016 while doing this.
- Don’t use oversize fuse wiring.
- Never use broken power tools or faulty extension cords.
- Install safety switches or RCDs (residual current devices) where possible on your home’s switchboard. These devices are designed to prevent injury or death by automatically switching off the electricity supply, within 0.03 of a second, when an electrical fault is detected.
Look up and live – powerline safety on farms
Powerlines are an integral part of our outdoor landscape, which makes them easy to forget. With the sun in your eyes, trees in your line of vision or if you are watching something else, you may not see how close you are to powerlines.
Always be aware of what is above you if your work involves:
- raising the tipper tray of trucks
- raising equipment such as irrigation pipes overhead
- climbing on top of machinery or storage silos
- using tall machinery, such as cranes or augers, and / or
- driving high vehicles.
Tips for staying safe around powerlines
- Identify all areas where powerlines cross properties.
- Identify all electrical hazards before starting work – if in any doubt contact the local electricity distribution company.
- Relocate bulk delivery storage sites to a safe area away from powerlines.
- Suppliers of bulk materials must ascertain, when taking orders, the delivery point on the farm for the load, the proximity of powerlines and what safety precautions are in place should there be powerlines in the vicinity.
- Never raise the tray of tipper trucks when underneath powerlines.
- Drivers should refuse to deliver loads if their safety is compromised in any way.
- Ensure a spotter is on hand when working near overhead powerlines.
- Display Look up and live stickers on any machinery or equipment that is raised overhead.
- Monitor weather conditions closely – remember powerlines can sag in extreme heat and sway in strong winds.
- Powerlines are more difficult to see at dawn and dusk.
- Remember that electricity can jump gaps.
Order one of our free farm safety signs today.
Gas safety on farms and rural properties
Gas is used on farms for domestic purposes such as cooking, hot water and heating. It is also used for other specialist purposes, such as cutting, brazing, crop drying and weed control.
Farms may also have larger storage requirements for LP Gas and thus additional safety considerations.
In addition to observing safe handling and storage requirements of gas, farm owners, managers and workers must know where any pipeline easements are on the property prior to fencing or excavating. Before undertaking any type of digging activity, contact the Dial Before You Dig information line or call Dial Before You Dig on 1100. You can also check out ESV’s Dial Before You Dig campaign.
Using LP Gas on farms
LP Gas is used on farms and in associated industries as a versatile form of energy for:
- Dairy hot water
- Grain drying
- Weed control
- Automotive fuel
- Partial substitute on diesel motors
- Cooking, heating, hot water and occasionally, lighting
- Cotton ginning for drying and re-humidifying
- Heat boilers at feed lots and processing plants
- Fueling SCARE guns for bird control
- Bore and irrigation pumps
Accidents in the handling, use and storage of farm fuels such as LP Gas can result in serious fires and explosions. These hazards usually arise out of leaks from joints, pipes or ruptured hoses.
LP Gas safety precautions
- Keep LP Gas cylinders away from open flames and motors that might cause sparks.
- Keep LP Gas cylinders, appliances and equipment in good condition.
- Keep all LP Gas cylinders, appliances and equipment out of reach of children.
- Regularly inspect hoses and connections for leaks, deterioration or damage.
- Read and follow the safety directions and manufacturers/installers’ guidelines for all LP Gas appliances, equipment, storage cylinders and tanks.
- Protect appliances, equipment, gauges and regulators from weather.
- Large LP Gas storage tanks are sited by the gas supplier to ensure they include the necessary safety clearances and safe operation of protective devices such as relief valves. Ensure that you do not inadvertently encroach on these clearances or safety devices.