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Farmers: Remember electrical safety this harvest season

In 2017, farmers ranked eighth in the list of the most dangerous jobs (civilian jobs with highest fatality rates) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics/U.S. Dept. of Labor. Unfortunately, farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers rank right below other hazardous jobs such as logging, roofing, and steel work.

It is no wonder farmers make that list. As agriculturists are well-aware, many dangers are present in their long and arduous workdays.

Safe Electricity and Clay Electric Co-operative remind farmers that accidents related to power and electricity are also possible but, in most cases, they can be prevented. Especially during the busy harvest season, take the following steps to decrease the chances of an electrical-related incident:

  • 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 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 us right away.
  • If your equipment does hit a power line, do not leave the cab. Immediately call 9-1-1, warn others to stay away, and wait for the utility crew to cut the power.

Although harvest season is a time filled with tight deadlines and heightened work stress, take the time to consider electrical safety. It could save your life or the lives of others.

Harvest Safety Tips for Farmworkers

  • Maintain a 10-foot clearance around all utility equipment in all directions.
  • Use a spotter and deployed flags to maintain safe distances from power lines and other equipment when doing field work.
  • If your equipment makes contact with an energized or downed power line, contact us immediately by phone and remain inside the vehicle until the power line is de-energized. In case of smoke or fire, exit the cab by making a solid jump out of the cab, without touching it at the same time, and hop away to safety.
  • Consider equipment and cargo extensions of your vehicle. Lumber, hay, tree limbs, irrigation pipe and even bulk materials can conduct electricity, so keep them out of contact with electrical equipment.

Source: Safe Electricity

For more information about electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.