According to the National Ag Safety Database, 62 U.S. farmers are electrocuted every year. To raise an additional cause for concern, 3.6% of deaths among youth under 20 years old are caused by electrocution.
As equipment continues to get larger and taller, and grain spouts on combines become longer to get past the headers, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how to work safely around overhead power lines.
Producers can reduce the risk of electrocution by:
- Always assuming electric lines and electric equipment is energized. Never touch a power line.
- Be aware of the location of overhead power lines and choose a route for your equipment that avoids
- Avoid using ladders, portable augers, or irrigation equipment around power lines.
- If you are using a ladder near overhead lines, use fiberglass with non-conductive side rails, for
- Tools should be carried horizontally.
- Maintain 10 feet of clearance between power lines and your equipment. Contact your power
company to determine the height of the lines on your farm.
- Review safety measures with all individuals working on your farm, whether full-time, part-time,
voluntary, or family.
- Remember that even nonmetallic objects, such as tree limbs, ropes, and straw, can conduct
- Stay at least 30 feet away from downed electric lines and equipment.
If the equipment you are operating makes, contact with an overhead electrical line you should:
- Remain in the vehicle.
- Warn others in the surrounding area to stay away.
- Call 911 and wait for emergency professionals or utility works to say it is safe to exit.
- In case of fire, jump out and clear and do not touch the equipment and ground
- Land with both feet together and keeping both feet on the ground, shuffle away in small steps to
avoid shock or electrocution.