Spring planting

Sow seeds of safety this season

Farmers returning to the fields should stay particularly alert to the dangers of working near overhead power lines. Remember:

  • Electricity can arc or “jump” from the line to equipment that’s too close. Keep equipment at least 10 feet from overhead lines.
  • Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting tractors on trailer beds.
  • Designate preplanned routes that avoid hazard areas.
  • Lower extensions like planter arms or cultivators to the lowest setting when moving loads.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path.
  • Even if using an auto-guidance system, stay focused on equipment location while in the field. Do not simply rely on the GPS system and be ready to take action if needed.
  • Consider using a spotter to alert you if you come close to making contact. A spotter can see sagging wires that would not be visible on a GPS and provide additional verification that you can pass safely.
  • Before getting out of the cab, look up and double check the area around your machinery to make sure it is not in contact with overhead lines.
  • Know how to stay safe if equipment does make contact with power lines!

Managers should make sure full-time and seasonal workers are educated on these and other electric safety precautions. Learn more about farm safety at SafeElectricity.org.

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