Every year, dozens of farm workers in the United States are killed by electrocution. Portable grain augers, oversized wagons, large combines and other tall or cumbersome equipment can easily contact overhead power lines. The result is electrocution of anyone on the equipment.
Follow these safety tips during the planting and harvesting seasons:
- Always lower portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level - under 14 feet - before moving or transporting; use care when raising them.
- Keep all objects at least 10 feet away from overhead lines. Know where all overhead power lines are located on your property and inform all workers about them.
- Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
- Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path.
- Plan your route between fields, to bins and elevators, and on public roads so that you avoid low-hanging power lines.
- When moving large equipment or high loads near a power line, always use a spotter, or someone to help make certain that contact is not made with a line.
- Don’t use metal poles when breaking up bridged grain inside and around bins.
- As in any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles or rods into power lines. Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes, and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness and dust and dirt contamination.
- If equipment gets hung up on a power line, the operator should NOT get off the machinery unless in immediate danger. If the operator touches the ground and the equipment at the same time, he or she will become a channel for electricity.
- If you must leave the equipment, jump as far away from the machinery as possible. Never get back on machinery that touches a power line until the utility company disconnects the line.
- Be sure you and everyone else in your operation know what to do in an emergency.
- Use qualified electricians for work on drying equipment and other farm electrical systems.