Look Up!

Wasco Electric Cooperative (WEC) reminds you of the hazards when working around power lines.

Overhead power lines are necessary to deliver electricity to farms and rural homes but deadly if large equipment touches them. Farmers should be aware of power lines when using large equipment for spring tillage.

Farmers and their equipment should always be at least 10 feet away from power lines on all sides. Field cultivators and sprayers often reach more than 19 feet in the air. Practice extreme caution and use a spotter to make sure you stay far away from power lines.

The most common cause of electric shock is large machinery—such as tractors with front loaders, portable grain augers, cultivators, and equipment with antennas—contacting overhead lines. Handling long items such as irrigation pipes, ladders and rods also poses a risk.

Getting close to a power line while working is dangerous because electricity can arc, or jump, to conducting material.

Power lines sag over time. If power lines on your property sag so low you cannot safely work, contact WEC at (541) 296-2740.

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 WEC poles, are grounded. However, when a guy wire is broken, it can become charged with electricity. If you have a broken guy wire, call WEC to fix it. Do not do it yourself.

Never touch an overhead line if it has been brought down by machinery or has fallen.

Never assume a line is deenergized until an authorized utility worker says it is.

If you contact an overhead or underground power line while working, follow these safety procedures:

  • If 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. If left untreated, shock may cause cardiac dysrhythmia, which could lead to death.
  • If you are in a vehicle that is in contact with an overhead line, do not leave the vehicle unless it is on fire or likely to catch fire.
  • Never touch a person in contact with a live power line.