Make safety first this harvest season

Long hours, powerful equipment and the rush to get the crop out of the field can all add to the risk of an accident. Most electrical contact accidents can be prevented with a few simple safety steps. First, make sure that you and your farm workers know the location of overhead power lines and plan out ways to avoid them when moving equipment. Make sure, don’t assume, everyone understands that any contact with these lines creates a path to the ground for electricity and carries the potential for a serious, even fatal, accident. Everyone should know the height of all your farm equipment and how high power lines are to prevent accidental contact. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least 10 feet away from power lines. Be extra careful when moving grain augers. Many electrical accidents on farms occur when augers are accidentally raised into power lines or implements are folded or unfolding into power lines. These rules also apply to guy wires, which support power line poles. Damaging guy wires can weaken the poles and even cause them to topple, bringing live power lines down onto the ground and creating an extremely hazardous situation. If your farm machinery or any other vehicle hits a power pole or comes in contact with electrical wires follow these rules to stay alive:

Do not get out of the vehicle unless it is on fire. The safest place is to stay in the vehicle and call for help or wave to someone passing by. Motion to them to call for help but also motion them not to approach the vehicle if they are moving toward you. There have been several occasions when equipment operators have called on a cell phone from inside the cab when their equipment has become entangled in power lines. They should stay put until our linemen arrive to safely handle the situation.

Always assume a power line is hot! Do not let others get close to the farm equipment or vehicle until our linemen have arrived and cleared the equipment. Do not attempt to move a downed line with anything. If your vehicle is on fire, jump out and away from the vehicle so that no part of your body touches the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Continue jumping away from the vehicle for quite some distance. Be sure to visually check for any wires on the ground or in your path before jumping. Please share these safety rules with everyone in your family and those that work on your farm. Make regular safety discussions an ongoing part of your harvest season. Have a safe and prosperous harvest!