In 2017, farmers ranked eighth in the list of the most dangerous jobs (civilian jobs with highest fatality rates) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics/U.S. Dept. of Labor. Unfortunately, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers rank right below other hazardous jobs such as logging, roofing, and steel work.
It is no wonder farmers make that list. As agriculturists are well-aware, many dangers are present in their long and arduous workdays
One of the causes of injury and death in the agricultural industry is electrocution. Of those injuries, overhead power lines are the most common cause of electrocution.
Valley Rural Electric Cooperative and Safe Electricity remind farmers that accidents related to power and electricity can be prevented. Especially during the busy harvest season, take the following steps to decrease the chances of an electrical-related incident.
- Always use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines.
- Use care when raising an auger or the bed of a grain truck 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 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 clearance.
- If a power line is sagging or low, call the local utility immediately.
- If your equipment does hit a power line, do not leave the cab. Immediately call 9-1-1, warn others to stay away, and wait for the utility crew to cut the power.
The only reason to exit equipment that has come into contact with overhead lines is if the equipment is on fire, which is very rare. However, if this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together and without touching the ground and equipment at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, hop to safety as you leave the area.
Although harvest season is a time filled with tight deadlines and heightened work stress, take the time to consider electrical safety. To help ensure a safe harvest, stay alert for power lines, exercise caution, and always put safety first. It could save your life or the lives of others.
For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org .
Article courtesy of SafeElectricity.org with modifications by Valley Rural Electric Cooperative. Photo by Valley Rural Electric Cooperative.