Farm safety is never out of season. Before heading back into the fields, make sure you and your workers are particularly alert to the dangers of working near overhead power lines. Here are a few tips:
- Survey work areas carefully for overhead power lines and utility poles. Keep farm equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines. Keep in mind the minimum 10-foot distance is a 360-degree rule – below, to the sides and above the power lines.
- When moving large equipment or high loads near a power line, always use a spotter to help ensure that contact is not made with the line.
- Avoid raising the arms of planters, cultivators or truck beds near power lines.
- Overhead electric wires aren’t the only electrical contact that can result in a serious incident. Pole guy wires are grounded to the neutral; but, when one of the guy wires is broken, it can cause an electrical current disruption. This can make those neutral wires anything but harmless. If you hit a guy wire and break it, call Oconee EMC immediately.
- Operators of farm machinery or moving equipment should know what to do if the vehicle comes in contact with a power line. It’s almost always best to stay in the cab and call for help.
- Warn others who may be nearby to stay away and wait until the electric company arrives to make sure power to the line is cut off.
- If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path to the ground and electrocution is the result. Even if a power line has landed on the ground, there is still the potential for the area nearby to be energized.
- Stay inside the vehicle unless there’s fire or imminent risk of fire. In that case, the proper action is to jump – not step – with both feet hitting the ground at the same time.
- Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Continue to shuffle or hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area. Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment.