With the arrival of harvest time, Indiana’s farmers are shifting into high gear as they move into their fields to bring in their crops. While farmers deal with their fair share of risk daily, the increased activity around harvest time puts farmers and farm workers at greater risk.
“People are quick to assume that everything will fit under power lines, but that isn't true,” says Jared Boggs, Safety Coordinator at Northeastern REMC. “Farm machinery and agricultural implements are a lot larger than they used to be. What once was not an issue with power lines now becomes one."
With so much of the machinery and implements becoming larger and larger what once was not an issue now becomes one.
Here are some tips from Northeastern REMC to help farmers and their workers protect themselves this harvest season:
- Always look up and around before moving or raising equipment. Keep in mind power lines sag between poles, especially on hot days. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least 30 feet from all power lines and power poles.
- Never try to raise power lines to allow passage of tall equipment. Even non-metallic objects such as wood poles or branches can conduct electricity.
- Watch out for power poles, too. If you strike one, it may break, dropping a live line on your metal tractor or combine.
- When considering the height of equipment, don’t forget about the radio antennas and GPS receivers that may reach another couple of feet above the roof.
- Remember new equipment could be bigger and taller than what it replaced. Don’t assume the new equipment will fit in the same space.
- When moving equipment near power lines, have a spotter on hand to ensure your safety.
- If you’re not completely sure equipment will fit under a power line, find an alternate way to move it.
- If you’re in equipment that touches power lines, stay in the cab and call for help. Tell others to stay away. In the rare case of a fire that requires you to escape, jump clear of the equipment. Keep both feet together and shuffle or hop at least 30 feet away.