Portglenone farmer ‘could have been killed’ when he knocked down electric pole

Slurry spreading
Slurry spreading

A Portglenone farmer escaped injury over the weekend after his tractor and tanker collided with a high voltage electricity pole while spreading slurry.

The incident happened shortly after 2.00pm on Saturday and resulted in the loss of electricity to around 100 homes in the surrounding area.

NIE emergency crews responded, assessing the damage and working into the evening to replace the broken pole, restring the overhead power lines and carry out safety checks. Final customers were restored to power at 8.30pm.

Christine Baker, NIE Customer Relations Manager for the area, says this incident was avoidable and farmers must take caution when using heavy machinery in the vicinity of the electricity network.

Christine said, “Anyone considering work near the network should plan ahead to ensure your work does not bring you, or anyone on site, into contact with the overhead or underground electricity network.

“This farmer could have been killed had the pole fallen onto his vehicle. Vehicles and equipment don’t have to touch lines to become live as electricity can jump gaps. They can remain live at dangerously high voltages until NIE engineers carry out a safety isolation. I cannot stress strongly enough the need for caution when working near electricity equipment – electricity can kill if the correct safety procedures are ignored.”

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Farmer and agricultural contractors working in the vicinity of overhead lines should carry out their work in accordance with Health and Safety Executive guidelines, particularly GS6.

NIE currently offers the farming community a wide range of advice and assistance to help them avoid both overhead lines and underground cables including advice leaflets, videos and maps and diagrams of the electricity network.