Farmers know that safety is more than a precaution. It’s a way of life. Because of that, most farm workers are aware of the dangers that come with the job, and know how to avoid the risks and consequences of farm accidents.
However, one danger that is often overlooked is the threat of large equipment coming into contact with live power lines. Farm machinery today is bigger than ever. Large equipment improves productivity, but leaves less clearance for overhead power lines. Contact with a live power line can be deadly and knowing what to do if it happens can mean the difference between life and death.
Always be aware of what’s overhead while working on the farm. If your equipment contacts a power line, stay inside the cab. Do not exit. Call 911 and your electric cooperative for help and warn anyone nearby not to approach your equipment. Only exit the machinery after you are told by the authorities that it is safe to do so. Exiting equipment that has made contact with energized powerlines can cause electrocution. The downed power lines could be charging the equipment with electricity and, if you step out, you will become the electricity’s path to the ground and could be killed by electric shock.
If you must get out of your equipment because of a fire or other danger, tuck your arms across your body and jump with your feet together as far as possible from the equipment so no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time. Move away from the equipment with your feet together, either by hopping or shuffling, until you are at least 40 feet away. Electricity spreads through the ground in ripples. Keeping your feet together prevents one foot from stepping into a higher voltage zone than the other foot, which could cause electrocution. When you are clear of the area, call for help and keep others away. Don’t approach the equipment again until the authorities tell you it is safe.
Visit PoweringYourSafety.com to learn more and help spread the word about the dangers of large farm equipment and overhead power lines.