Power lines pose a major hazard for farmers. Lines over roads and rural areas have a minimum clearance of 18 feet but just 12.5 feet over residential private property.
Before working in a field or around shops or grain bins, always take the time to note the location of power lines so that you can make sure to remain a safe distance from them.
To stay safe around overhead power lines, farm operators and workers must:
- Always use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines.
- Use care when raising augers or grain truck beds around power lines.
- Keep equipment at least 10 feet from lines—at all times, in all directions.
- Inspect the height of farm equipment to determine clearance.
- Always lower extensions to the lowest setting when moving loads.
- Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for added clearance.
- Call the electric co-op immediately if a power line is sagging or low.
- If contact is made with a power line, remember that it is almost always safest to stay on the equipment. Make sure to warn others to stay away and call the co-op 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, avoiding touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, “bunny hop” away.
- If you see someone’s equipment in contact with a power line, the best help you can give is from a safe distance. Make sure to yell out to, signal or call the equipment operator to make sure he or she remains in the vehicle, and notify the cooperative immediately.