Des Moines, Iowa – In observance of National Farm Safety and Health Week (September 21-27, 2014), MidAmerican Energy Company offers the following tips to help farmers stay safe when working around electricity this harvest season:
Power Line Safety
- Be aware of overhead power lines, particularly when moving equipment. People and equipment should maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from power lines at all times.
- Know the height of all your equipment during transit; cultivators and planters, for instance, may be taller in the fold-up position than they are during field use. Lower augers to transport level when moving even a short distance, and always make sure the auger system has a good ground connection.
- Never attempt to raise or move a power line.
- Watch for guy wires, which support utility poles. Damaging a guy wire can weaken a pole and bring down live power lines, creating a hazardous situation.
- Do not erect fence wire along the same route as overhead lines, and do not string fence wire where it may come into contact with an overhead line.
- If a tractor you are operating comes into contact with a power line, remain seated until help arrives. If there is danger of fire, jump as far away from the tractor as possible and keep your feet together when you land. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Do not attempt to touch or get back on the equipment after dismounting – this is when many injuries occur.
- All electrical outlets should be three-hole, grounded outlets with faceplates.
- Ground the entire electrical system, and protect ground wires and rods from damage.
- Install a lock-out switch that can turn off all electricity from one area. This will be vital in the event of an emergency or a repair.
- If there are any doubts about the condition of the electrical circuits, wiring or equipment on the farm, have a licensed electrician inspect them.
Grain Bin Safety
- If it is necessary to enter a grain bin, shut off and lock out electricity before entering. Use a safety harness and safety line, and have people available outside the bin in case of emergency.
- Know the National Electric Safety Code requirements for horizontal clearance between the side of the grain bin and adjacent power line and the vertical clearance above the bin to the nearest line. Make sure the wiring on the property complies.
- Contact MidAmerican Energy before constructing or remodeling a grain bin to ensure the electrical transformer is of adequate size.
If farm equipment comes in contact with a utility line or other piece of electrical equipment, call MidAmerican Energy immediately at 800-799-4443. For more information on farm safety, visit www.midamericanenergy.com/safety.