The modern farmer, more than ever, relies on heavy equipment to bring in the crops. This year, before heading out to the fields, farmers should make sure they know the locations of power lines and take into account their equipment sizes, especially if they are using something new. Also be aware that even if a clearance was safe last year, something as simple as soil buildup could make it hazardous this year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contact with overhead power lines has accounted for more than 450 on-the-job deaths in the United States from 2003-06, the latest statistics available. Of those, 35 occurred on farms.
Keep in mind these safety tips:
• Equipment should come no closer than 10 feet from overhead lines. Even if a line is not directly contacted, electricity can arc.
• When moving equipment from field to field, always lower any attachments—even if you’re only moving it a few yards.
• Use a spotter when moving big equipment or big loads. And never attempt to move a power line in your path—always contact your co-op for help.