It can be an exciting and exhausting time, the culmination of a season of hard work. However, the rush to harvest can also yield tragic outcomes. Each year, dozens of farm workers are killed, and hundreds are injured in accidents involving power lines and electrical equipment.
Farm workers should take these steps to ensure a safer harvest season:
- Use care when raising augers or the bed of grain trucks around power lines.
- Use a spotter when operating large machinery near power lines. Do not let the spotter touch the machinery while it is being moved anywhere near power lines.
- As with any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles, or rods into power lines. Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, ropes and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness, dust, and dirt contamination.
- Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path!
- Do not use metal poles to break up bridged grain inside bins. Know where and how to shut off the power in an emergency.
Operators of farm equipment or vehicles must also know what to do if the vehicle comes in contact with a power line: Stay on the equipment, warn others to stay away and call 911. Do not get off the equipment until the utility crew says it is safe to do so.
Stay inside the vehicle unless there’s fire or imminent risk of fire. If this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together, without touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, keeping your feet together, hop to safety as you leave the area.