Farming safety

Farming safety

If you are planning on cutting hedgerows, trimming trees, spreading slurry or cutting silage, please be aware of electricity poles and power lines.

Remember, never ride on top of vehicles or loads.

Please consider the following to keep you safe when farming or working near electricity.

Overhead power lines

If you are operating near power lines:

  • be careful when moving plant or equipment, especially with tall machines or long booms
  • make sure that when handling or using platforms, scaffold poles, piping, ladders or tools, they are kept at a safe distance
  • do not steady a suspended load, skip, hoist wire or sling unless satisfied that there is no danger
  • remember that when mobile plant such as a crane or excavator is operating near overhead lines, the raising or slewing of the jib may introduce danger
  • never operate a machine unless carefully guided by an experienced banksman or slinger
  • never approach or touch any broken or fallen conductors or any plant in contact with an overhead line before we confirm that conditions are safe.

If a machine in contact with an overhead line cannot be disentangled by backing off, remain seated in the cab and warn others to keep clear of the machine until the electricity company confirms that conditions are safe.

If it is essential to leave the machine while it is in contact with the overhead line, jump clear - do not attempt to climb down in the normal way and do not touch any part of the machine when on the ground.


If you have contractors working around your farm, remember to point out the location of poles, overhead lines and underground cables so they can work safely.

Stay wires

Stay wires are attached to some poles to provide stability for the overhead power lines. Always check if there are any in the vicinity of your work.

If you do damage a staywire, contact us immediately on 0800 195 4141.

Watch the Health and Safety Executive's video case study of an electrical accident

Slurry spreading

If a jet from a liquid slurry tanker makes contact with electrical equipment, there is a risk that the vehicle will become 'live' and electricity will pass through the body of anyone in contact with the machine.

All forms of liquid manure, particularly when sprayed from tankers, should be kept well clear of electrical plant and all types of overhead lines.


In recent years there has been increased use of polytunnels in agriculture and a number of fatal incidents where people have come into contact with overhead lines whilst moving, erecting or dismantling polytunnels.

The support posts, hoops and sheeting can all present a hazard if there are overhead lines in the vicinity and more so in high winds.

Safety information

Download the AFAG804 Electricity at work forestry and arboriculture leaflets free of charge

Read the Energy Networks Association safety information leaflet for agriculture