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Planting Safety



Spring into safety on the farm

It’s planting season for many of Indiana’s roughly 94,000 farmers. While you prepare to plant the crops that keep the world fed, Orange County REMC reminds you to keep electrical safety in mind.


According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 62 farm workers are electrocuted each year in the U.S.


Here are safety tips for farmers to keep in mind this season:

  • Make sure farm equipment like planter arms and sprayers safely clear overhead power lines. Tall equipment can easily become entangled in power lines and pose an electrocution risk. Keep a minimum of 10-foot distance from power lines in all directions.

  • Consider asking your electric cooperative to move overhead lines around buildings or frequently used pathways. If you’re planning any new construction, consult your cooperative for information on minimum clearances and the location of overhead lines.

  • Keep a safe distance from power poles and guy wires when working the land or planting crops. If your equipment strikes and damages a guy wire or power pole, do not try to fix it yourself. Call your electric cooperative immediately.

  • If your farm equipment becomes entangled with power lines, call 911, keep others away and stay calm. If you must exit the equipment for life-threatening reasons, exit by jumping away, landing with feet together, then shuffle three tractor lengths away with feet together. Never re-enter or touch equipment in contact with a power line. Avoid touching anyone who had electrical contact.

  • If you are planning a controlled burn, mow and remove vegetation at least 15 feet around any pole prior to burning. Apply fire retardant to the area as recommended by the manufacturer prior to burn period. Do not directly spray or treat a pole. Should a burn get out of control and endanger poles or other equipment, call 911 immediately.

  • Prevent fires from passing under power lines, as smoke contains carbon particles that conduct electricity. High smoke concentration near lines can cause an electrical discharge from the line to the ground, posing risks to firefighters. When using water hoses near power lines, extreme care must be taken to avoid contact, as water conducts electricity, turning the stream into a conductor.


SOURCES: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Virginia Cooperative Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Evergy, Kansas State University



 


Know what to do if electrical contact occurs

If you’re inside farm machinery that snags a power line:

  • Call 911 immediately.

  • Keep others away and remain calm.

  • DO NOT try to exit the equipment.

  • If you must exit the equipment for a life-threatening reason such as fire, don’t touch the machinery and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing.

    • With the door open, prepare to jump. Stand up, elbows tucked into your stomach and your hands held close to your chest.

    • Jump out and away from the machinery. Land with your feet together and touching. Don’t stumble.

    • Shuffle away with your feet touching each other and the ground at least three tractor lengths away from the machinery.

    • Ensure that no bystanders come within 40 feet of machinery.

    • Once away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or touch the equipment.

If you’re outside the machinery when you notice a farmer comes in contact with a downed power line:

  • Stay at least three tractor lengths away.

  • Tell the person on the machinery to stay where he or she is.

  • Call 911 and ensure no bystander moves within 40 feet of machinery.

 

Keep your planned burn under control

Controlled burns can be a beneficial way to clear a field of debris. But they must be planned carefully and correctly. Here are safety tips if power lines are nearby:

  • Mow and remove vegetation at least 15 feet around any pole and apply fire retardant to the area as recommended by the manufacturer prior burning. Do not directly spray or treat the pole.

  • Do not allow the fire to cross under power lines in large areas. Smoke contains carbon particles which can conduct electricity. If the concentration gets high enough, an electrical discharge from the line to the ground, similar to lightning, can occur. When working below power lines with water hoses, keep water streams out of overhead lines. Water will conduct electricity and the water stream will act as a conductor.

  • Should a burn endanger poles or other electrical equipment, call 911 immediately.

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