Farm Guide VIC : 2014-15
FarmSafety 75 On the farm • Look out for deteriorating and aged electricity wiring and installation in farm sheds, outbuildings and in some farm houses. • Don’t overuse extension leads and powerboards. • Be aware of damage to fuse boards that have not been repaired. • Connecting the earthing on electric fence units to farm buildings is a very dangerous practice that can explain why electric shocks are received from taps in farm properties. • Monitor the condition of private overhead lines. Many are left in a dangerous condition because of sagging lines, rotten poles, damaged cross arms, a general lack of maintenance, and trees and vegetation growing across the lines or in close vicinity. Get your gas heater serviced at least every two years to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas Safety Protect yourself from CO, the silent killer Energy Safe Victoria issued a new warning to Victorians about the danger of carbon monoxide after a young Ballarat couple was found dead in a car in July 2014. The bodies of the couple and their dog were found by police after they were using a butane heater to keep warm while sleeping in a car. Victoria’s Director of Energy Safety, Paul Fearon, said this tragedy is a reminder that gas appliances and heaters can kill. “This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts go out to the families of this young couple. It reminds us that gas heaters and appliances are extremely dangerous if they are not used safely,” said Mr Fearon. CO is a silent killer that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It can leak from faulty, un-serviced gas heaters or accumulate if there is insufficient ventilation such as when an outdoor heater is used indoors. Outdoor gas heaters should never be used indoors or in confined spaces because of the risk of CO poisoning. Gas heaters and appliances require plenty of ventilation to operate safely and should only be used according to manufacturer’s instructions. “The golden rule is if an appliance is attached to a portable gas bottle, don’t bring it inside. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide (CO) can build up and quickly reach fatal levels. And it’s not just the risk of CO poisoning, if you bring those things inside you can also die from oxygen depletion.” Over the past decade an average of one Victorian per year has been killed by CO poisoning from gas heaters that have been faulty, un-serviced or used incorrectly. In 2012 a Ballarat man died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a gas patio heater indoors. In 2010 Chase and Tyler Robinson were killed by a faulty gas heater leaking carbon monoxide in their rented Shepparton home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal or it can cause chronic, sometimes undetected, illness. Symptoms of CO poisoning can include headaches, fatigue and nausea. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using gas heaters and appliances and ensure there is adequate ventilation for patio and outdoor heaters. Gas heaters including wall units, decorative fireplaces, space heaters and central heating units should be serviced a minimum of every two years by a registered gasfitter. Find a gasfitter in your local area and before booking a service, check that they are registered and have the proper equipment to test for carbon monoxide leakage.