Initiative aims to raise awareness of the dangers of electricity on farms

Jimmy Doherty

Jimmy Doherty

TV farmer Jimmy Doherty is fronting a campaign to ask agricultural workers to keep safety in mind when working on the farm.

Doherty has teamed up with electricity network provider SP Energy Networks to tackle electrical safety on farms across the UK. Key safety tips include guidance on safely navigating machinery under overhead powerlines, and how to safely exit farm vehicles if powerlines fall on farmland.

Doherty said: “I’ve always had a passion for wildlife and farming and by educating others about the safety steps to follow, we can all do our bit to ensure the types of tragic incident that we’ve all heard about can be avoided.

“That’s why this partnership with SP Energy Networks is so important. Our goal is to protect farmers and support a safer working environment for everyone by sharing these easy-to-follow safety tips.”

Derek Bell, health and safety director at SP Energy Networks, added: “At SP Energy Networks, we’re committed to working with farmers and the agricultural industry to ensure they know what to look out for in relation to any potential electrical hazards and how to stay safe on the farmland.

“It’s great to have Jimmy on board to help promote that message and ensure that people know what to do in advance, as well as what to do if the worst happens. I’ve no doubt his skills, knowledge and expertise about the risks and dangers and tips on how to stay safe will resonate throughout the farming community during this important time of year.”

Doherty’s top tips are:

  • Look out. Look up!”: When working on farmland near overhead powerlines, be mindful of machinery and its size as it passes underneath – particularly if working with new machinery, extendable machinery, and bigger equipment.
  • Map it out: Mark up a farm map with routes, operating voltages and approximate heights of overhead power lines running across your land, near boundaries and access routes to fields. If you don’t have a map of your farm, contact SP Energy Networks or your network operator for a network plan, or visit Any underground cable routes in or around your land should also be recorded. You can always get in touch with your network operator if you’re unsure about the equipment on and nearby your land.
  • Tell others about potential hazards: Ensure that you inform staff, contractors, and delivery drivers of potential electrical hazards on the farmland before any work begins.
  • Have the national 105 electrical emergency helpline number close to hand: If anyone is injured, call 999 immediately for medical attention.
  • Beware of fallen powerlines: In the event of a powerline falling on your land, take extreme caution. Powerlines can remain live, even if they appear unaffected, so it’s essential to keep people and livestock away, then contact the electricity network operator via the 24/7 electrical emergency hotline number, 105. If anyone is injured, or the incident occurs in a populated area, call 999 for medical attention.
  • Bunny hop: If your vehicle encounters an overhead powerline, do not exit the cab until given confirmation by the electricity network operator that it is safe to do so. If the machine is inoperable and there is a risk of an immediate hazard to you and you need to exit, you must jump clear, making sure you don’t hold onto any machinery and touch the ground at the same time. Once out of the vehicle, do your best to bunny hop or alternatively take leaping strides so that one foot is off the ground at all times until you are at least 15 metres away.