Many Farmers are busy preparing tillage equipment, sprayers and planters for spring field work. Wasco Electric Cooperative urges farmers to look for electrical hazards around the farm as they prepare for planting.
Farmers and their equipment should always be 10 feet away from power lines on all sides. Field cultivators and sprayers can often reach in excess of 18 feet in the air. Practice extreme caution and use a spotter to make sure you stay far away from power lines when you are using equipment.
Overhead power lines are necessary to deliver electricity to farms and rural homes, but electricity can be deadly if wires are touched by large equipment. Farmers should be aware of power lines while using large equipment for spring tillage.
The most common cause of electric shock is large machinery such as tractors with front loaders, portable grain augers, cultivators and equipment with antenna’s making contact with overhead power lines. Handling long items such as irrigation pipe, ladders and rods also pose a risk. Getting close to a power line while working is dangerous, because electricity can arc, or “jump”, to conducting material or objects.
Power lines start to sag over the years. If power lines on your property sag so low you cannot safely work, contact Wasco Electric Cooperative at 541-296-2740. They will repair sagging lines. Never try to move a power line on your own.
Overhead power lines are not the only electric hazard on the farm. Pole guy wires, used to stabilize Wasco Electric Cooperative poles, are grounded. However, when one of the guy wires is broken it can become charged with electricity. If you have a broken guy wire, call Wasco Electric to fix it. Don’t do it yourself.
Safety procedures to follow if you come in contact with a power line, overhead or underground while working around the farm.
- Never touch an overhead line if it has been brought down by machinery or has fallen. Never assume lines are de-energized until an authorized utility worker provides that information.
- When a machine is in contact with an overhead line, DO NOT allow anyone to come near or touch the machine.
- If any person has received an electrical shock, seek medical treatment. While symptoms may not be visible, if left untreated, shock may cause cardiac dysrhythmia which could lead to death.
- If you should be in a vehicle that is in contact with an overhead line, DO NOT LEAVE THE VEHICLE. As long as you stay inside, you may avoid an electrical hazard.
- Never touch a person who is in contact with a live power line.