Harvest season can yield higher numbers of electrocution, shock and burn injuries. Clark Electric Cooperative urges farm workers to avoid tragic accidents by using caution when completing farm activities that take place around power lines.
Equipment contacting overhead power lines is the leading cause of farm electrocution accidents in the mid-west. Many of thse accidents occur enar grain bins when augers make contactwith power lines. Many types of farm equipment can come in contact with overhead power lines, creating a direct path for electricity. Tractors with front-end loaders, portable grain augers, fold-up cultivators and equipment with antennas can easily become electrical hazards and must be operated with care. Know the location of power lines and keep farm equipment at least 10 feet away from them.
Farm workers should remember the following safety tips:
Always lower portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level - under 14 feet - before moving or transporting; use care when raising them.
Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
Use a spotter to make sure contact is not made with a line when moving large equipment or high loads.
Be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles or rods into power lines. Even non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes and hay may conduct electricity under certain conditions.
Use qualified electricians for work on drying equipment and other farm electrical systems.
Inspect farm equipment for transport height and determine clearance with any power lines that the equipment must pass.
Review the possibility of underground utility supplies for new or replacement power lines.
If you have a standby power system, review its location, operation and importance with all workers.
Never try to raise or move a power line to clear a path.
What do you do if farm equipment or vehicles come in contact with power lines:
It's almost always best to stay in the cab and call the local electric utility.
If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path and electrocution is the result.
Warn other who may be nearby to stay away and wait until the electric utility arrives to make sure power to the line is turned off.
If the equipment or vehicle is on fire, the proper action would be to jump out with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Continue to hop or shuffle to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.
Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time.
Once away from the equipment or vehicle, do not go back until the electric utility gives permission to do so.