Alarming numbers have been released by SaskPower just as their annual safety campaign gets underway.

There were over 300 farm-related power line contacts last year, a number that has gone up over the last few years. SaskPower spokesman Jordan Jackle explains why the numbers have gone up.

“We really do attribute that to a few things,” Jackle said. “One of the big ones, really being the growing size of farm machinery in the last 10-15-20 years, especially when you’re looking at seeders and sprayers and that sort of thing.”

The theme for this year's campaign is Look Up and Live, and affects both agricultural workers and those in the construction industry.

“It is a matter of really being aware of those surroundings,” said Jackle. “The consequences for contacting electrical equipment, whether it’s a power line or a power pole or anything along that line, really ranges from being a minor incident to potentially being a fatal incident, so it is something to be take very seriously.”

Jackle said they are running ad campaigns and going to farm shows with the message to people to be aware of power lines at all times.

“Really the big thing here is to raise awareness about SaskPower’s equipment in the field and really get people thinking about looking up and finding those overhead lines and being aware of those underground lines as well before you go about your work.”

As part of the campaign, some power poles were wrapped in bright orange on a major Saskatchewan highway to being attention to the campaign. Jackle said the bulk of farm-related contacts will happen during seeding season and contacts can vary greatly.

“It could be a seeder contacting a poll out in a field, it could be somebody moving equipment and coming into contact with a power line crossing a road that they thought they had clearance on when they didn’t,” he said. “People moving augers in farmyard in farmyards that they’ve worked in through their entire career in agriculture.... there isn’t any one specific cause that we’re seeing out there.”

Jackle said they do see ‘a bit of a blip’ during harvest, but not the kind of numbers seen during spring seeding.

 

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