Farm electrical safety

Farm safety when working near powerlines

If you are planning work near power lines be aware that touching or getting too close can be fatal or lead to serious injury.

Make sure you:

  • Treat all lines as live at all times.
  • DO NOT go near or touch a downed line.
  • DO NOT climb any power pole or pylon.
  • LOOK UP before handling long objects or using mechanical plant. High voltage electricity can jump across gaps — you don't need to touch the lines to be seriously injured or killed.
  • BE SAFE when trimming or cutting down trees(external link), we recommend you hire trained professionals.
  • DO NOT excavate around power poles without speaking to us first.

The New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances (external link)(NZECP 34:2001) must be followed:

  • Requires any person who carries out any work near power lines or poles to maintain safe distances.
  • A minimum safe approach distance of 4m for any mechanical plant. We may permit a lesser distance where we are satisfied that safety will not be compromised.
  • If excavating within 2.2m of a pole or 6m from a tower, we must consent in writing before any excavation work is carried out.

Power poles have strains placed on them from the weight of the overhead conductors. Any lowering of the depth of the ground around a pole can weaken the support of the pole causing it to fall. If in doubt call us on 0800 363 9898 to discuss your plans.

Trucks and heavy machinery

It’s important to take a few minutes before driving trucks and heavy machinery around the farm to know where any overhead power lines might be.

Make sure you:

  • Don't just look ahead — look up when driving any vehicle with extra height.
  • Always pay close attention above and be sure you're clear when driving or manoeuvring under power lines.
  • Establish safe entry and exit zones.
  • Park and work away from overhead lines.
  • Keep clear of power lines when working on the upper levels of stock trucks or on high loads.
  • Make sure your hiab or side lifter is down before you move off.

Moving equipment around lines

When moving machinery, such as grain augers, ladders, drills and other large equipment, plan your route to make sure power lines are high enough to give adequate clearance or avoid power lines all together.

Always have lifting equipment in a lowered position before moving it under power lines.

Irrigation equipment

  • Don't load or unload metal irrigation pipes close to power lines.
  • Plan an appropriate route when driving under power lines.
  • Keep jet irrigators and the booms of rotary irrigators clear at all times.
  • Make sure the tips of rotary irrigators are kept 4 metres from power lines when operating and moving down a paddock, and when being shifted along bumpy roads or across bumpy paddocks.
  • Jet irrigators must not spray or wash power lines or poles.

Excavating near power poles

If you are excavating near a power line you must not disturb the ground around power pole, as this can make them unstable.

If you see downed power lines or damaged equipment call us immediately on 0800 363 9898 and make sure people and stock are kept well away.