Most people understand that choosing a labor-intensive career comes with safety risks. But did you know that farming is the eighth most dangerous job in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
At Noble REMC, we want our agricultural community to be aware of a danger that contributes to that statistic: electrocution. It kills more than 60 farm workers each year in the United States, but those deaths can be prevented.
In honor of National Farm Safety and Health Month, and with harvest season upon us, it’s important that those who live and work on farms know the risks and understand how they can unknowingly come into contact with electricity.
The most common risk of electrocution for farm workers comes from overhead power lines, as tall equipment, such as grain augers, combines and raised dump truck beds, can easily become entangled in the lines.
Always use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines, keep equipment at least 10 feet from lines at all times and in all directions and never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance. If your equipment does hit a power line, do not leave the cab. Immediately call 911, warn others to stay away and wait for the utility crew to cut the power.
Grain bins also pose a danger. The National Electrical Safety Code requires power lines to be at least 18 feet above the highest point on any grain bin with which portable augers or other portable filling equipment are used.
We encourage farmers to call us if they plan to install new grain bins or if they are concerned about the proximity of power lines to existing structures or equipment.
Farm owners are also responsible for making sure all components of the farm’s electrical system are functioning correctly to protect themselves and their workers.
The main distribution system on a farm should be large enough to accommodate present demand and future expansion. If you have expanded your farm in recent years or simply want to make sure components of your farm’s electrical system are functioning properly, please contact our office.
Electricity is vital to Indiana’s agricultural industry, and electrical safety is critical for making Indiana’s farms productive.
While the co-op regularly trains our operations crew and staff about safety, we want to make sure our members are just as educated and aware of electrical safety measures they can use on a daily basis in their own lives.
Things we see every day can fade from view, but failure to notice high voltage power lines can be a deadly oversight. Always look up for power lines and put safety first.