BRYAN, PAULDING, MALINTA, AND ST. MARYS, OH — In addition to being one of the most labor-intensive professions, farming is also considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Rushing the job to save time can be extremely hazardous––even deadly––when farming near electrical equipment.
Every year, North Western Electric Cooperative, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, Tricounty REC, and Midwest Electric see collisions where tractors and other farming equipment accidentally collide with utility poles and power lines, causing injuries and power outages.
These dangerous accidents can be avoided by looking up and planning ahead when operating large farm machinery.
If you’re preparing for harvest season, please keep the following safety tips in mind:
-Maintain a 10-foot clearance around all utility equipment in all directions.
-It can be tough to estimate distance when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck. Use a spotter and deployed flags to maintain safe distances from power lines and other electrical equipment when working in the field.
-Always lower equipment extensions, portable augers, or elevators to their lowest possible level, under 14 feet, before moving or transporting them. Wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can cause you to lose control of equipment and make contact with power lines.
-If you see sagging lines or your equipment makes contact with an energized or downed power line, DO NOT TOUCH THE LINES. Assume all downed lines are energized and dangerous. Stay away and contact 9-1-1 immediately. Remain inside the tractor/combine until the power line is de-energized.
-If you must exit due to smoke or fire, exit the cab by making a solid jump out of the cab (without touching it), and bunny hop away with both feet together or shuffle to safety so electricity does not have a path through you. Watch the tutorial video here.
-Consider equipment and cargo extensions of your vehicle. Lumber, hay, tree limbs, irrigation pipes and even bulk materials can conduct electricity, so keep them out of contact with electrical equipment.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to exit a tractor or vehicle that’s made contact with power lines, visit your co-op’s YouTube channel or website: www.nwec.com, www.PPEC.coop, www.tricountyelectriccoop.coop, or www.midwestrec.com.
Thank you to all our local farmers out there for feeding our communities! Please stay safe this season.