ESB Networks warning to farmers transporting hay and straw

Loading bales of hay for cattle.
Loading bales of hay for cattle.

ESB Networks, in the Republic of Ireland, has issued a public safety warning to the farming community about transporting high loads of hay and straw which may come in contact with overhead electricity wires.

Coming in contact with overhead electricity wires is extremely dangerous and can be fatal.

Electricity wires are erected at best international heights that permit the transit of loads safely. However serious problems arise when loads are too high and interfere with live overhead electricity wires.

ESB Networks Public Safety Manager Arthur Byrne says: “At this busy time for farmers, hay and straw is being saved and transported on roads around the country. ESB Networks is concerned about a number of incidents where tractors pulling high loads of hay and straw, have come in contact with the overhead electricity network. In one case, where a high load pulled down live electricity wires, both the tractor and load caught fire. Thankfully the driver escaped injury, but it serves as a timely warning to the farming community on these hazards.”

When loading hay and straw onto a tractor or lorry, our advice is to always ensure that the load is low enough to allow for safe transit, and avoid putting the public at risk. When planning the route with a high load, identify where electricity wires cross the road. Where there is doubt, establish if there is adequate clearance and, if necessary contact ESB Networks.

NEVER, under any circumstances touch an electricity wire or anything the wire may be in contact with, including the inside or outside of a tractor/lorry/trailer etc. Please contact ESB Networks immediately on 1850 372 999.

Please read carefully the “Farm Safely with Electricity” Booklet which can be downloaded from the website www.esbnetworks.ie. Also the “Guidelines for safe working near overhead lines in agriculture” and the “Code of Practice for Avoiding danger from overhead electricity lines.”

These can be downloaded from the HSA (www.hsa/ie) and ESB Networks websites (www.esbnetworks.ie)