Cotton Safety

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Stay clear when powerlines are near this cotton harvest

When it comes to the potential dangers of working around powerlines and other network infrastructure, there are some key safety messages to keep in mind. Following some simple steps could help keep you and your workers safe on the land this cotton harvest.

Plan for a safe cotton harvest

  • Identify hazardous areas on your property - Use the Look up and Live app to identify where powerlines are located on your property. Visit
  • Always Look up and Live – check your surroundings prior to extending machinery – including when tipping loads. Always make sure all workers on your site know the location of powerlines and how to be safe around them.
  • Install aerial markers in areas with poor or low visibility – Essential Energy can install overhead powerline markers on your property to help increase the visibility of powerlines. Visit to request aerial markers on your property. You can also use ground barriers or install appropriate signage at least 8 to 10 metres either side of powerlines.
  • Know the lowered and extended height of all machinery – ensure all machinery operators are aware of the height and reach of their machinery in both stowed and working positions to ensure that minimum safe approach distances are maintained. Always lower machinery fully before moving off.
  • Monitor the weather – keep an eye on the weather as powerlines can sag and sway in hot weather and windy conditions are difficult to see at dawn and dusk. Visit our StormTracker to check out the weather for your areas.
  • Order free safety signage for your machinery – order free stickers and signs for your machinery.

Stay Clear When Powerlines Are Near

Ensure required minimum approach distances are maintained at all times. It’s a good idea to assign a competent safety observer to each work team to guide machinery movements when working in the vicinity of powerlines.

Always stay at least 8 metres away from fallen powerlines and anything they may be in contact with and report the fault immediately. Remember, damaged or fallen powerlines can be hard to spot. Indicators of potential network damage may include:

  • Flickering or no power supply
  • Burnt areas in paddocks or roadsides
  • Injured or downed stock
  • Smoke or fallen trees.

Contact Essential Energy on 132080 to report the issue.

What to do if something goes wrong

If your machinery comes into contact with the electricity network it’s imperative you know what to do.

Emergency Escape Procedure:

  1. Stay in your vehicle and call 000 immediately
  2. If escape is absolutely necessary (because of fire), jump well clear to avoid contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time
  3. When you jump, land with your feet together. Do not touch the vehicle, fall or allow your feet to step apart
  4. You must shuffle or jump, with your feet together until you are at least 8 metres clear of the vehicle, powerlines or anything else in contact with them
  5. Once clear, do not return to the vehicle for any reason
  6. Call Essential Energy on 132080
  7. Remember to never approach a vehicle to assist in an evacuation and always treat powerlines as if they are ‘live’.

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Useful links

Look Up And Live app
Request overhead network maps
Enquire about aerial markers
Order safety collateral
Download our emergency escape procedure fact sheet
Download more safety information from our Agribusiness safety page