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. But, unfortunately, all that increased activity puts farmers and farm workers at greater risk.Combines and grain augers are large pieces of equipment and most people assume that everything will fit under the power lines, but that isn’t always the case. The biggest cause of electrocution on farms is equipment accidentally touching power lines.
We want all of our farmer-members to have a safe harvest season. Here are some tips we recommend for farmers to protect themselves and their workers:
- Always look up and around before moving or raising equipment. A good rule of thumb is staying at least 30 feet from all power lines and poles.
- Check clearances each time you enter or exit a field. It is possible that changes were made since the last time you accessed the field, and the clearances could have changed.
- 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 equipment.
- 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.
- Take the time to fully lower grain augers and other portable equipment before moving them.
- When moving equipment near power lines, have a spotter on hand to ensure your safety.
- If you’re unsure if 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 and you have to escape, jump clear of the equipment. Keep both feet together and shuffle at least 30 feet away.
Please contact us if you have any questions about power lines close to your fields.
About.com, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Ozark Border Electric Cooperative, Powerlinesafety.info