Power and Electrical

Power and Electrical safety

Electrical hazards are common on dairy farms because electrical equipment is often used in hostile operating environments (where there is moisture, vibration, dust,
heat, corrosive chemicals or physical damage) and because power lines are likely to be located near busy dairy and feed storage areas.

Electrocution often results in death or serious injury.

Electric shocks may also lead to injuries or illnesses such as falls (e.g. from ladders or platforms), muscle spasms, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, collapse and unconsciousness.

Arcing, explosion or fire due to electric faults can cause burns and illness or death from release of toxic gases.

Regulations require employers to manage electrical risks by ensuring all electrical installation and equipment is safe to use. Even if contractors or workers supply their own electrical equipment, the dairy farm manager has a responsibility to ensure that it is safe.

Use the resources below to ensure that you comply with these requirements.

Where possible, use battery operated rather than power tools such as drills and grinders.

Welders and angle grinders often suffer damaged cables and plugs and extension leads. Nicks, splits, burns and pulling away of insulation near plugs all potentially expose live wire.

Always inspect these before use and ensure they have a current test tag.

Consider all the places where power is supplied and used on your farm. Your focus will most likely be around the dairy and workshop, but other powered locations such as yards, sheds, pumps and houses should be considered too.

A good place to start is Step by step – Safety for power and electrical equipment on your farm

The Farm Safety Manual aims to make it straightforward for dairy farmers to build and improve a comprehensive farm safety system.