With many of Indiana’s 58,000 farmers beginning to plant their crops this season, Indiana Electric Cooperatives reminds them to practice safety – especially when working around electricity. Farming is one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States and 62 farmers are electrocuted every year, these deaths can be prevented by practicing simple safety measures.
To prevent electrocution, safely clear drills, planters and other seeding equipment of overhead power lines. Tall equipment can come into contact with power lines if there isn’t a minimum 10-foot distance between them. Farmers should also keep a safe distance from power poles and guy wires when working the land or planting crops. And, installing waterproof and dustproof electrical boxes and outlets at the farm is an easy way to avoid electrical dangers.
If farm equipment does come in contact with a power line while you’re inside, do not leave the machinery. Call 911 and tell anyone that comes to your aid to stay away from the machinery. If you must exit the machinery for life-threatening reasons, jump out and away from it, making sure to land with your feet together and touching. Then, shuffle away with your feet touching until you reach a safe distance.
The National Electrical Safety Code requires power lines to be at least 18 feet above the highest point on any grain bin with which portable augers or other portable filling equipment are used. If a standby generator is used on a single-phase system, connect it to the farm’s wiring system through a double pole, double-throw switch. This prevents backfeed and keeps linemen safe from the risk of electrocution.
It is also important to educate full-time and seasonal farm workers to stay safe on the farm. Each worker should be aware of the dangers and utilize proper safety procedures.
Indiana Electric Cooperatives, located in Indianapolis, represents 38 electric distribution cooperatives that serve 1.3 million Hoosiers in 89 of the state’s 92 counties. The cooperatives are collectively the second largest electricity provider in Indiana. For more information about the association, visit IndianaEC.org.