Farmers urged to harvest safety

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Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution is issuing a fresh warning to farmers to put safety first, as the 2012 harvesting campaign gets underway.

With nights drawing in and some farmers still working late into the evening, it is imperative operatives remember to check the whereabouts of overhead lines, not just in their fields, but around the roads and tracks they use to access them.

In some cases, machines such as combine harvesters/forklifts can reach heights of up to seven metres when their equipment is fully extended, and with darkness falling much earlier, and operatives getting tired, it can be very easy to miss obstacles such as power lines or electricity poles.

Ken Miara, operations manager for the North-east of Scotland, said: “What many people forget is that electricity can jump through the air, so it’s crucial that anyone operating agricultural equipment is aware of the optimum height they can open their equipment at and be aware of where overhead lines are situated before they move on to the next field.

“People should also be aware of the dangers caused by CB aerials which protrude above the machine. A report reached us of one farmer who had an extremely lucky escape when his aerial touched an overhead line.

“The resulting shock blew the onboard computer and the cab caught fire.

“On this occasion he was very lucky indeed, especially considering he had to jump out and run.”