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Avoiding Electrical Dangers during Harvest Season Safety


After working in a field on a neighbor’s farm, Jim Flach parked his equipment and stepped out of the vehicle. Flach received a severe electric shock that ultimately resulted in his death a few months later. His equipment was unknowing- ly touching an overhead power line, and he became a path to ground for an electrical current as he set his foot to the ground. Safe Electricity urges farm- ers and agricultural workers to have a safe harvest season by taking precautions around power lines.


The rush to harvest can result in farmers working long days with little sleep. Before working in a field or around shops or grain bins, always take the time to note the loca- tion of power lines, so that you can make sure to remain a safe distance from them. Power lines can pose a major hazard for farmers. Typi- cally, power lines over streets and rural areas have a minimal clearance of 18 feet and 12.5 feet over residential private property. To stay safe around over- head power lines, Safe Electric- ity urges farm operators and workers to:


• Always use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines. • Use care when raising au- gers or the bed of grain trucks around power lines. • Keep equipment at least 10 feet from lines—at all times, in all directions. • Inspect the height of the farm equipment to determine clear- ance. • Always remember to lower extensions to the lowest setting when moving loads. • Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance. • If a power line is sagging or low, call the local utility immedi- ately.


If contact is made with a power line, remember, it is almost always safest to stay on the equipment. Make sure to warn others to stay away,


and call the local utility provider immediately. The only reason to exit is if the equipment is on fire. If this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together and without touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, “bunny hop” away.


If you see someone’s equip- ment in contact with a power line, the best help you can give is at a safe distance. During one of these situations, make sure to yell out to, signal, or call the equipment operator to make sure he remains in the vehicle, and notify the local utility.


For more farm and electrical safety information, visit Safe- Electricity.org.


“LOOK UP & LIVE”


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