Spring has sprung in the Hoosier state. It’s planting season for many of the state’s roughly 94,000 farmers. While you prepare to plant the crops that keep the world fed, 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 farm.
Helpful safety tips for farmers to keep in mind this season:
- 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 20-foot distance from power lines in all directions. Consider asking your electric cooperative to move overhead lines around buildings or frequently used pathways. If you’re planning any new construction, consult your cooperative for information on minimum clearances and the location of overhead lines.
- 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. Leave that to the experts.
- 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, 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.
- If a standby generator is used on a single-phase system, it must be connected to the farm’s wiring system through a double pole, double-throw switch. The switch disconnects the farm’s electrical system from the electric cooperative’s lines during an outage and prevents backfeed – keeping lineworkers safe from the risk of electrocution.
- Finally, 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.