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.