Spring into safety on the farm

Posted on Mar 23 2022 in Safety

Planting season is here for many of the state’s roughly 94,000 farmers. While you prepare to plant the crops that help feed the world, Indiana’s electric cooperatives remind you to keep safety in mind — especially when working around electricity.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 62 farm workers are electrocuted each year in the U.S. 

“Farm worker deaths and injuries can be prevented by practicing some simple electrical safety measures around the farm,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives.

Here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind:

Make sure farm equipment like planter arms and sprayers safely clear overhead power lines. This tall equipment can easily become entangled in power lines and pose an electrocution risk. Keep a minimum of a 10-foot distance from power lines in all directions. Consider asking your electric cooperative to move overhead lines around buildings or frequently used pathways. It’s also a good idea to re-check any field access points for proper clearance before entering in case something has changed since the last time you were in a field.

Keep a safe distance from power poles and guy wires when working the land or planting crops. Contact 911 immediately if your equipment comes into contact with a guy wire or power pole. Do not try to fix it yourself.

If your farm equipment comes in contact with power lines, call 911 immediately. Keep others away and remain calm. DO NOT try to exit the equipment or touch someone who has had electrical contact. If you must exit the equipment for life-threatening reasons such as fire, jump out and away from the equipment and make sure to land with your feet together and touching. Then, shuffle at least three tractor lengths away with your feet touching. NEVER attempt to get back into or touch equipment that is in contact with a power line.

Make sure full-time and seasonal farm workers are educated to stay safe on the farm. Each worker should be aware of the dangers and use proper safety procedures.

Indiana’s electric cooperatives stress the importance of staying safe around electricity this planting season. It could save a life.

Know what to do if electrical contact occurs 

If you’re inside the equipment when it comes in contact with a downed power line:

If you can, drive safely away from the downed power line and the source of electricity. Travel at least three tractor lengths, or about 40 feet, before stopping.

If you can’t drive or you are injured, it’s best to stay where you are until help arrives.

If you must get out of the equipment because of a life-threatening reason, don’t touch the equipment and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing.

  • With the door open, prepare to jump. Stand up, elbows tucked into your stomach and your hands held close to your chest.
  • Jump out and away from the equipment, taking care to land with your feet together and touching. Don’t stumble.
  • Shuffle away with your feet touching each other and the ground. Don’t stop until you’re at least three tractor lengths away from the equipment.
  • Call 911 and ensure no bystanders come within 40 feet of equipment.
  • Once away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment.