We do not have to remind those who work the land and raise livestock that they have a potentially dangerous occupation. However, due to the nature of the job, and because of long days and tiring work, here are some reminders about electrical dangers on the farm.
Overhead Power Lines
If you make contact with a power line, guy wire, power pole, electrical box or any other electrical equipment, do not get out of your cab or truck. Stay put and call 9-1-1 to dispatch the local utility to de-energize the power. If you must get out due to smoke or fire, make a solid jump out without touching any part of the tractor or vehicle, and hop away as far as you can, keeping both feet together as you hop. Another option (after you make a clean exit) is to shuffle or waddle away while keeping your feet together and on the group. Once you are out, never try to re-enter the cab or truck. Stray power could energize your equipment and the ground.
Determine Proper Clearance
Contact us to measure power line heights; do NOT do this yourself. Once you know the heights, you can determine appropriate equipment, implement and extension clearances. Always maintain at least 10 feet between the power line and the tallest height of the equipment that will be transported. Keep in mind that due to wear, age and even weather condi¬tions, power lines can change height.
Call Us Before Moving or Adding a Grain Bin
The National Electrical Safety Code addresses grain bins and their proximity to power lines with very specific requirements. The requirements are in place to help keep farmers safe: to decrease the chances of farming equipment and machinery coming in contact with power lines. If you are planning on building a new grain bin or remodeling around an area that already has one, contact our office. We can help with specific code require¬ments. The taller the grain bin, the farther it must be placed from a power line.
Always Dig Safely
Whether you are installing new fence posts or using large tillage tools, call 811 before you dig to have underground utilities marked. Even if you think you know where buried gas, power and other lines are, do not rely on your memory.
Use Standby Generators with Care
If you have a standby generator to provide essential pow¬er during an outage, be sure to correctly use the transfer switch. Once you properly engage the switch, it stops your farm’s generated power from entering utility lines, aka backfeeding, which can electrocute lineworkers who are working to restore power.
For more information about electrical safety, visit the Safe Electricity website.