Power Lines on Farms: A Hidden Danger

As a broker specialising in farm insurance, you understand the complexities of protecting your clients. However, one often-overlooked danger lurks just above and below the ground – power lines. Overhead and underground lines pose a serious threat to farm safety, and tragically, these incidents can have devastating consequences, not just for the individuals involved, but also for your clients.

Compared with many other farm hazards, power lines are silent threats. Unlike a malfunctioning tractor or a sudden downpour, they do not announce their presence. This inherent invisibility contributes to a false sense of security, leading to potentially fatal accidents. By addressing the dangers of overhead and underground power lines on farms, we uncover how these seemingly innocuous lines could be responsible for a multitude of heartbreaking incidents:

  • Combine Harvesters: Imagine a farmer tragically losing their life after a jump from the cab following a collision with a power line. The electrical arc can be unforgiving.
  • Contractor Deaths: Picture the potential for a double E&O claim if two young contractors working on your client's farm lose their lives due to contact with overhead lines.
  • Fishing Rod Fatalities: A seemingly harmless fishing rod on a canal bank can become a conduit for electricity, leading to a wrongful death lawsuit against a farmer.
  • Trade Show Tragedies: Even festive events like agricultural shows aren't immune. A misplaced flag touching an overhead line can result in a loss of life and potential litigation.
  • Feed Lorry Mishaps: Think of the potential financial and emotional toll if a feed lorry tipping in the dark collides with a power line, causing a fatal accident and a hefty claim.
  • GPS Tractor Dangers: Modern farm machinery with GPS technology can be a double-edged sword. Distracted drivers operating tractors with high clearance can strike utility poles, leading to serious injuries, equipment damage, and potential subrogation claims.

 Mitigating the Risk: Mapping and Communication

 These potential tragedies highlight the urgent need for farm owners to map all overhead and underground power lines on their property. LBU urges you to emphasise the importance of the following with farmers: 

  • Detailed Power Line Mapping: Accurate maps of all power lines are essential, with regular updates as the farm layout changes.
  • Comprehensive Communication: Educate everyone who sets foot on the farm – workers, contractors, and even visitors – about power line locations. Regular safety briefings and visible signage are crucial.
  • Regular Electrical Inspections: Schedule regular inspections by qualified electricians to identify and address any potential hazards before an incident occurs. This preventative maintenance can save lives and prevent costly repairs down the line.
  • Invest in Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): Recommend that your clients install GFCIs in areas with a high moisture content, such as near water sources or washdown areas. GFCIs can help prevent electrical shock incidents in these particularly risky zones.
  • Utilise Technology for Enhanced Safety: Explore the potential of technologies like proximity alarms or automated shut-off systems to create an extra layer of protection around power lines. As technology advances, new solutions may emerge to further enhance farm safety.

By proactively addressing the issue of power line safety with your clients, you can significantly reduce the risk of claim denials. Many farm insurance policies exclude coverage for damages or injuries caused by electrical incidents if the client has not taken reasonable safety precautions. Equipping your clients with the knowledge and resources they need to mitigate these risks protects them financially and safeguards your reputation as a broker who prioritises client safety.

Your Partner in Farm Safety and Risk Management

LBU is dedicated to being more than just an insurance provider. We are your partners in helping ensure that your farm clients have the knowledge and resources to create a safer environment.

Our farm insurance policies offer protection against a wide range of risks. However, we emphasise the importance of electrical safety measures for full coverage to apply. This proactive approach can help minimise claim denials and potential E&O exposures for you.

By working together, LBU and brokers can play a vital role in preventing power line tragedies on farms. We can ensure a safer future for farmers and protect your clients, your business, and ultimately, your reputation.

Contact LBU today to learn more about our resources and how we can help you safeguard your farm clients.