Hazards of Harvest

Distributors in farm country, take note: Now is the time to remind your communities to be aware of the hazards of using farm equipment around power lines. Farmers and farm family members face dangers every day. Although tragedies such as tractor rollovers and grain bin suffocation receive the most attention, electrocution and electrical burn accidents are frequent on farms, and the Safe Electricity program of the Energy Education Council, Springfield, Ill., is out to remind farmers to look ahead, and up.

The simple movement of a portable grain auger from one bin to another can have tragic results if the individuals involved are not extremely careful. The use of tractors with large cabs and antennas and oversized grain wagons can also result in preventable electrocution incidents. Electrical equipment around fields, such as power lines near the end rows, may get overlooked during a hectic harvest time. Failure to notice overhead power lines can be a deadly oversight.

Most farmsteads could use a very careful overhead visual inspection of electric lines, the council says. The service may no longer meet the proper height codes (typically 18.5 feet) because of age and/or damage to poles and pole guy wires. The sag may have increased over the years, while the height of the machinery being used today may be much higher.

To provide more information, Safe Electricity has videos on electrical safety at www.SafeElectricity.org. Safe Electricity is a program of the Energy Education Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency, and supported by a coalition of hundreds of organizations, including electric utilities, educators and other entities committed to promoting safe use of electricity.

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