Staying safe on the farm

National Ploughing Championships

ESB Networks is proud to participate in the annual National Ploughing Championships.  Every year we have a large stand where you can talk to ESB Networks staff and get important safety information. 

Our stand is in Block 3, Row 11, stand no 269.

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Farm Safety

Electricity is a powerful and versatile source of energy but can be dangerous unless we use it safely. Serious accidents can occur on farms when machinery comes too close to overhead electricity wires or electrical equipment becomes faulty.  


Working near overhead electricity wires and having an unsafe electrical installation are the main causes of electrical fatalities on farms.

Examples of actual previous accidents:

  • Welding in a farm shed
  • Electric fence connected to 230 Volts ac rather than through the electric fence unit
  • Milking machine became live due to faulty wiring
  • A silage harvester made contact with a 10,000 Volt (10kV) overhead electricity wire
  • Cutting timber close to a 20,000 Volt (20kV) overhead electricity wire
  • Power washing a cow shed using an extension lead

Deaths have occurred due to accidental contact with ‘live’ electricity.  It is very important to be aware of potential dangers and to always make safety a priority.

Typical farm machinery can easily reach an overhead electricity wire. Operating forage harvesters, combine harvesters or tipping trailers and moving high loads near overhead electricity wires are high risk activities. Ensure that poles, stay-wires and protective earth wires are not damaged during farming work.

Farm Safety Video

Safety on the Farm

Farm Well Farm Safely

Top 7 electrical hazards on farms

  • Fallen electricity wires
  • Wiring installation
  • Portable tools
  • Bonding and stray voltage
  • Electric fences
  • Stand-by generators
  • Machinery and high loads
Download Farm Well Farm Safely (PDF | 962 KB)

National Wiring Rules for Electrical Installations

The National Wiring Rules for Electrical Installations make specific provisions for agricultural and horticultural premises. For example the rules specify what type of switches, sockets, plug tops and light fittings must be used in farm installations. Domestic fittings should never be used for farm installations.