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PAGE 4 | SEPTEMBER 2014


Grain bins: Harvesting safely BY ABBY BERRY, NRECA A


s rewarding as it may be, farming is an extremely difficult job—and it ranks among the


top 10 most dangerous professions in the United States. At TCEC, safety is top priority for all—employees and members.


Area farmers work hard to get the job done, and sometimes it’s easy to forget all the necessary steps to take when practicing safe operations. Grain bins are siloed spaces built for storing grain and fermented feed known as silage. Tese bins play an integral role in the efficiency and profitability of farm and ranch operations, and safety regulations should always be considered when working around these structures.


Whether purchasing new grain bins or remodeling areas that contain existing ones, proximity to overhead power lines must be considered carefully.


Safe clearance. Te National Electrical Safety Code requires an 18-foot minimum vertical clearance from the highest point of the filling port of the grain bin to nearby high-voltage wires and a 55-foot minimum distance from the power line to the grain bin wall. See the chart at right for further guidelines. Changes to landscaping and drainage work can affect clearance heights of power lines, so remember to check these measurements regularly.


Filling grain bins. High-voltage power lines are not insulated, so it’s important to remember to maintain an adequate high-wire clearance when using a portable auger, conveyor or elevator to fill a grain bin.


Moving equipment near grain bins. When moving equipment, such as a hopper or a scaffold, be aware of nearby power lines. Remember to maintain a 10- foot clearance to ensure safety.


55' MINIMUM 25' 15' 18.5'


HIGH BIN


DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE! FOLLOW FARM SAFETY RULES AROUND POWER LINES


Height of grain storage structure


15 ft. 20 ft.


25 ft. 30 ft. 35 ft. 40 ft. 50 ft. 60 ft. 70 ft. 80 ft.


D=Minimum distance from line to bin wall*


55 ft. 68 ft.


80 ft. 93 ft. 104 ft. 118 ft. 143 ft. 168 ft. 193 ft. 218 ft.


*Based on a typical power line having a vertical clearance of 18.5 feet above the ground and a supply line phase to ground volt- age of more than 0V to 22KV; National Electrical Safety Code Rule 232.


IMPROPER POWER LINE CLEARANCE NEAR GRAIN BINS CREATES AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION FOR LINE CREWS AND FARM PERSONNEL ALIKE. CONTACT TCEC TO DETERMINE PROPER CLEARANCE WHEN INSTALLING GRAIN BINS. SOURCE: NRECA.


Accidents can happen in a split-second, which is why TCEC reminds members to always use caution when working near power lines. Members who are considering a plan for a new grain bin or reconstruction of an existing bin’s


site, should contact TCEC at 580-652- 2418 for assistance in maintaining a safe


environment for everyone. „ Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not- for-profit electric cooperatives.


HIGH BIN


GRAIN BIN SAFETY 143' MINIMUM 80' MINIMUM 50'


HIGH BIN


18.5' D


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