Horror story a farm safety warning

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Horror story a farm safety warning

SA Power Networks has launched an emotional farm safety campaign featuring Bradley Richardson, a victim of a terrible electric shock incident.

Bradley’s story is a reminder of the horrific consequences of electric shock and the importance of safety around powerlines.

Bradley is incredibly lucky to be alive, but the cost was the loss of both of his legs, 35% burns to his body, organ damage, and about 25 major operations.

For all that he remains upbeat and determined to share his story so that others might focus on safety around powerlines.

“I wanted to tell my story so others do not get hurt,” Bradley said.

“Especially if you see someone in a dangerous job for 30 years and they do not see any accidents.

“They become complacent and that’s when they get hurt.”

Bradley worked as a farm labourer and also helped his boss with fabrication and construction of hay sheds.

Just a few seconds in October 2018 while working on a farm at Hilltown near Clare changed his life irreversibly.

“I was lubricating the scissor lift, I was on the ground, leaning over the engine of the machine,” Bradley said.

“It hit the powerline and earthed out through me.

“I got 19,000 volts three times.

“The pain was incredible. There was so much pressure.

“I felt the most insane heat you’d ever imagine.

“I actually had a third-person experience. I stood next to myself and I was like, ‘Shit, that looks like it hurts,


“I could just see how hurt I was, ‘cause I was just stuck there.

“I was just frozen, like, ‘I hope this hurries up and ends’.”

It lasted 11 seconds after the initial shock, as the electricity system tried to restore power.

The current entered through Bradley’s right hand and chest and exited from his feet, right cheek and the back of his skull.

The damage was extensive but the injuries to his legs and feet were the worst.

“To see they were gone that was the hardest thing.

As soon as I woke up from my coma, I looked down and I could see that my feet would normally have the blanket up but they were not there at all.

“And I was like, ‘That’s not good, they’re gone’,” Bradley said.

The pain and impact on his life remains significant.

“It’s not an easy life at all any more,” he said.

“I just had to learn to redo everything in my life in a wheelchair, and then had to do it all again learning to walk on prosthetics.

“Totally different to a pair of feet, to normal legs.

“I cannot say it has just been bad, because I have learned a lot from it.

“It’s been bloody amazing sometimes.

“I have learned what’s important in life. What actually matters in this world.”

Four years after the accident, Bradley is back riding motor bikes with specialised prosthetics.

He has ambitions to buy a farm and have a few sheep and cattle.

SA Power Networks head of Corporate Affairs Paul Roberts

said Bradley’s story was both shocking and inspiring.

“SA Power Networks would like to thank Bradley for being willing to share his story and be so open about his experience,” he said.

“In 2022, we have had a larger number than usual of on-farm incidents and we are hoping Bradley’s story will resonate with farmers who will soon be out harvesting broad-acre crops.

“It’s an emotional story that brings home the terrible consequences of electric shock.

“But Bradley’s courage, determination and humour shine through.”

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