Indiana’s farmers will be shifting into high gear soon as they move into their fields to bring in crops. All that increased activity puts farmers and farm workers at greater risk.
“Combines and grain augers are large pieces of equipment,” says Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives (IEC). “People assume that everything will fit under the power lines, but that isn’t always the case. The biggest cause of electrocutions on farms is equipment accidentally touching power lines.”
Here are some tips IEC recommends for farmers to protect themselves and their workers:
- Always look up and around before moving or raising equipment. Keep in mind that power lines sag between poles, especially on hot days. Stay at least 10 feet from all power lines and power poles.
- Never try to raise power lines to allow passage of tall equipment.
- When considering the height of equipment, don’t forget about the radio antennas and GPS receivers that may reach another couple feet above the roof.
- Fully lower grain augers and other portable equipment before moving them.
- When moving equipment near power lines, have a spotter to ensure your safety. If you’re not completely sure equipment will fit under a power line, find an alternate route around it.
- Watch out for power poles. Striking one may cause live lines to drop on your equipment.
- If you’re in equipment that touches power lines, stay in the cab and call for help. Tell others to stay away.
“Working the land has enough hazards in the work itself,” says Elkins. “Moving to and from the fields shouldn’t be one of them. Please plan and use great care.”