IRELAND - Statistics show that 49 people have died after coming into contact with electricity on farms in Ireland since the year 2000.
Farmers were reminded of the importance of farming safely with electricity at a recent annual meeting of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA).
Guest speaker Arthur Byrne, from the Irish Electricity Supply Board Networks, highlighted the importance of staying vigilant when dealing with electricity.
Unfortunately, Mr Byrne had many tales to tell of farmers and livestock that suffered on-farm accidents involving electricity, including the 49 deaths.
Some of the accidents involved the equipment and wiring on the premises or farms. For instance, Mr Byrne detailed accidents involving power washing, welding and milking machines and parlours becoming live.
Other accidents occurred when machinery came into contact with overhead electricity wires on the land. These included an incident when a silage harvester contacted an overhead 10,000 volt line, and several situations involving damaged or fallen power lines and poles.
In addition to these farmer deaths and injuries, there have been many hundreds of incidents where livestock have died because of electricity, and where farmers had lucky escapes when trying to rescue stricken animals.
For example, in north Kerry recently a farmer lost 15 calves in a hay shed fire after an electrical fault.
During April 2014 six in-calf pedigree heifers were electrocuted inside a shed in County Meath, and many cows have received shocks in milking parlours.
Overall, Mr Byrne said: “Working near overhead power lines and having an unsafe or inadequately protected electrical installation are the main causes of electrical accidents on farms."
On a more positive note he continued: “Looking back over the decades, starting in the 30s, I can tell you that the average number of deaths from electrocution is five, in recent years that has come down very significantly to about two per annum – but it needs to be zero.”
TheCattleSite News Desk