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SA Power Networks campaign targets farmers to be more vigilant

As seeding kicks off for some farmers across the state so too has a new advertising campaign from SA Power Networks aimed at reducing the risk to farmers from powerlines on their properties.

On average there are more than 20 incidents on farms each year where powerlines are struck by vehicles.

There also are countless near misses and incidents where work is done far too close to powerlines.

The new campaign focuses on the issue of ‘inattentional blindness’ a psychologically recognised behaviour where people gradually don’t notice things they see every day.

SAPN corporate affairs head Paul Roberts said people have information overload which taught the brain to reduce the input, to focus on what was thought to be the most important at the time.

“We are making thousands of decisions basically on auto pilot, and we stop noticing things that actually could kill us,” he said.

“So our campaign is about getting people engaged in actively thinking about the risk from Stobie poles which can go un-noticed on farms – with potentially disastrous consequences.

“The campaign has the simple focus on ‘what you don’t notice can kill you’.

“This isn’t about blaming farmers – it is about recognising this is how we are as humans.”

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Plant A Seed For Safety founder Alex Thomas said the campaign adopted a no-blame approach to encourage better awareness, but it was important to remember both SA Power Networks and farming businesses have a shared duty of care to manage the risk – job planning and awareness alone was not enough.

“There’s no substitute for physically reducing the potential for exposure to a powerline, yet powerlines aren’t owned by farmers,” she said.

“One of the most effective ways to manage the risk is to bury powerlines altogether, (but) this is cost prohibitive.

“Orange visibility markers are also expensive and their effectiveness questionable.

“At a local level, the relationship between SA Power Networks and farmers needs to be strengthened to combat issues such as ageing infrastructure, when, how and who to get help from regarding saggy powerlines, and a lack of clarity regarding clearance distances.”

Originally published online on Stock Journal on 8/3/24. To view the full article, please click here.

 

Real safety. Real health. Real difference.