When the crops are ready to be harvested, farmers have only a window of time—between weather events, equipment breakdowns, and life events – to get the best quality crop out of the field. To make the most of this time, farm workers try to get as much work done as possible.
One of the biggest hazards for farmers is posed by power lines. Failure to notice power lines can be a deadly oversight. To stay safe around overhead power lines, Perennial urges farm operators to:To stay safe around overhead power lines, Safe Electricity urges farm operators and workers to:
- Use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines.
- Use care when raising augers or the bed of grain trucks around power lines.
- Keep equipment at least 10 feet from lines—at all times, in all directions.
- Inspect the height of the farm equipment to determine clearance.
- Always remember to lower extensions when moving loads.
- Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance.
- If a power line is sagging or low, call the local utility immediately.
If contact is made with a power line, remember, it is almost always safest to stay on the equipment. Make sure to warn others to stay away, and call Perennial immediately. The only reason to exit is if the equipment is on fire. If this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together and without touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, “bunny hop” with your feet still together so that you will not have different strengths of electric current running from one foot to the other.
Additional safety tips include:
- Do not use metal poles when breaking up bridged grain inside and around bins.
- Always hire qualified electricians for any electrical issues.
- Do not use equipment with frayed cables.
- Make sure outdoor outlets are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- When operating a portable generator, make sure nothing is plugged into it when turning it on, and never operate a generator in a confined area. Generators can produce toxic and deadly gasses like carbon monoxide.
- Always use caution when operating heavy machinery.
For more farm and electrical safety information, visit SafeElectricity.org.