SaskPower Launches Annual Safety Campaign
April 30, 2019
As the busy farming and construction season begins, we want to remind our customers to take the extra time to ‘Look Up and Live’ while working near electricity.
“Each and every year, there are hundreds of completely preventable power line contacts in Saskatchewan, which can cause injury or even death. When it comes to farming, we’re seeing those numbers trending upwards,” said Kevin Schwing, SaskPower Director of Health and Safety. “Last year, there were more than 300 incidents involving farm equipment, which is 40 more than the year before. One of the big factors is likely the growing size of farm machinery over the years.”
The majority of farm-related line contacts occur early in the growing season as producers work the get the crop in the ground. These incidents often involve hitting an overhead line or a power pole with a large piece of equipment, like seeders, sprayers, augers, or cultivators. Line contacts in the construction industry are more likely to involve machinery hitting underground power lines. On average, there is one fatality each year associated with coming into contact with a power line.
SaskPower’s annual safety campaign will start this week and continue through to October. This year will involve an ad campaign, including radio spots and billboards across the province, as well as a burned tractor display which will be set up at farm production events. People can also expect to see our pole wrap display set up along a busy highway in the province. SaskPower’s safety ambassadors will once again be bringing our power line awareness message to community events as well as some auction sales. Last year our ambassadors visited over 150 communities across Saskatchewan as well as 260 businesses.
All power line contacts are preventable. You can take steps to protect yourself, including:
- Be aware of the power lines around you and plan your route ahead of time. Lower equipment where needed and use a spotter to prevent contact.
- Take multiple breaks throughout the day and ensure you get plenty of rest before heading to work. Drinking plenty of water can also help prevent fatigue.
- Call 1-866-828-4888 or visit www.sask1stcall.com before you dig. They will send someone out to locate any underground lines so you can avoid them while doing your work.
“No matter what job you’re doing, whether working at a new construction site or your own farm yard, plan ahead and always take a moment to identify power lines,” said Schwing.
If your equipment contacts a power line and you are unable to drive away, then stay in the cab and call SaskPower at 310-2220 or 911. If your equipment catches fire and it is not safe to do so, you need to get out. After making sure there are no wires in your way, cross your arms and put your feet together. Jump as far away as you can and hop at least 10 metres away. Do not touch your vehicle and tell anyone nearby to do the same.
For more information on electrical safety, including prevention and steps to take if you hit a power line, go to www.saskpower.com/safety.
At a glance...
- There were more than 300 farm-related power line contacts last year, 40 more than 2017
- The consequences of making contact with a live power line can range from inconvenient to fatal
- All power line contacts can be prevented
- Visit SaskPower.com for more information