Sowing electrical safety on the farm

Here are tips to make getting in and out of the field safer

Spring planting season has arrived — which means many of Indiana’s 94,000 farmers will be heading to and from the fields soon. Farming is one of the 10 most dangerous occupations in the United States. Along with the large, powerful machinery and equipment farmers work around daily, they also must move that equipment around power lines, and 62 farmers are electrocuted every year. Indiana Electric Cooperatives wants farmers to be aware of hazards to help make their job feeding the world safer.

“Farm worker deaths and injuries caused by electrical contact can be prevented by practicing some simple safety measures,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.

Here are some 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 10-foot distance from power lines in all directions.
  • 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. It’s sometimes hard to measure clearances in the seat of large machinery; try to always have a spotter watching and directing you.
  • If your farm equipment snags or makes contact with power lines, call 911 immediately. Keep others away and remain calm. DO NOT try to exit the equipment. If you must exit the equipment for a life-threatening reason 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, as well. Each worker should be aware of the dangers and use proper safety procedures.