SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Farming is an important, yet also dangerous job. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, farming accounted for 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2013. During National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 20-26, 2015, Safe Electricity is sharing electrical safety tips to help promote safe practices on farms and ranches across the U.S.
“Electrical equipment, such as power lines near the end rows or around grain bins, may get overlooked during busy times of year, such as harvest,” says Kyla Kruse, communications director of the Safe Electricity program. “However, failure to notice overhead power lines can be a deadly oversight.”
The simple action of moving a portable grain auger from one bin to another can have tragic results if the individuals involved are not extremely careful. Raising the bed of a grain truck, extending a combine’s auger, or parking large machinery too close to overhead power lines could also result in preventable electrocution incidents.
Safe Electricity encourages farm operators and workers to look out for overhead power lines and maintain a safe distance away from them. Additional safety guidelines to keep in mind include:
Always 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 to the lowest setting 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 farm equipment does hit a power line, do not leave the cab. Immediately call 911, warn others to stay away, and wait for the utility crew to cut the power.
The only reason to exit equipment that has come into contact with overhead lines is if the equipment is on fire, which is very rare. However, 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, still keeping your feet together, hop to safety as you leave the area.
If you see someone’s equipment in contact with a power line, the best help is given at a safe distance. During one of these situations, make sure to yell out to, signal, or call the equipment operator to make sure he remains in the vehicle, and notify the local utility.
To help ensure a safe harvest, stay alert for power lines, exercise caution, and always put safety first. For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.