Cane harvesters urged to make safety a priority


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As the 2018 cane harvesting season gets into full swing, Essential Energy is urging operators of harvest machinery in northern NSW to prioritise safety when working near overhead powerlines and other electrical infrastructure.

General Manager Safety, HR, and Environment, David Nardi, recommends completing a hazard assessment for each work site, including paddocks, sidings, travel routes and relevant machinery, to reduce the risk of electrical incidents.

“Assign a competent safety observer to each work team to guide machinery movements near overhead powerlines and conduct regular meetings with workers to warn of potential electrical safety hazards,” David said.

Essential Energy recommends careful monitoring of weather conditions throughout the day as powerlines can sway in wind, sag in the heat and be difficult to see at dawn and dusk.

“Ensure operators know the height and reach of their machinery in both the stowed and working positions, and understand the required clearances between machinery and powerlines,” David said.

“Plan to start work at each new site during daylight hours so that all hazards can be observed and, where appropriate, provide ground level signage and barriers around powerlines. It’s also advised to tip cane well clear of powerlines.”

For more agricultural electrical safety information, visit

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