Electric fences shock Sri Lanka farmers

ECONOMYNEXT- The number of persons electrocuted in Sri Lanka fell 16 percent to 89 in 2018, with the most incidents reported when farmers were rigging illegal electric fences to protect crops, the state utilities regulator said.

The international benchmark for electrocutions is one in a million people.

However, at least five people per million were electrocuted in 2018, a Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) report said.

The highest number (20) of electrocutions for 2018 was from the Southern Province, and the lowest (4) was from Sabaragamuwa.

Eighty-three percent of those electrocuted were males.

Just over a third of the electrocutions were due to attempts at drawing illegal power lines to protect crops from wild animals.

The highest incidents occurred at the start and end of the traditional Maha agriculture season.

Overall, 38 percent of electrocutions were through illegal power tapping, while 33 percent was due to unsafe working environments and 28 percent through mistakes and carelessness. Only one percent of the incidents was due to fault of the electricity supplier.

The PUCSL said that greater awareness on safe use of electricity, licensing electricians, national standards for plugs and sockets and safe installation of power lines has reduced electrocutions.

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The number of electrocutions had reached a 11-year high of 180 or nine out of a million in 2012, before falling in 2013.

The number of electrocutions had fallen below expectations from 2013 to 2015, and has remained above projections since 2016. (COLOMBO, 05 June, 2019)