COLUMBUS, Neb. — Now that spring is here and farmers are heading to the fields to plant crops, it’s important to remember to look up, and look out for overhead power lines.
Hitting a power line with a piece of farm equipment can result in a dangerous, potentially fatal, situation. This is always preventable and requires awareness of where the power lines and poles are, as well as knowing the size of the equipment being used. The first thing to do after making contact with a power line is to call 911 and remain inside the vehicle as the line may still be energized. Law enforcement can contact NPPD or one of the many rural public power districts to respond.
“It’s important that all farm workers look up and around and determine where power lines are before moving large pieces of equipment under them,” said NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “We most importantly want farmers and their crews to go home safe every day, and if we do that, we also keep the lights on.”
If you’re forced to leave the vehicle, jump as far away as possible from the equipment, making sure no body part touches the tractor and the ground at the same time. It is important to land standing up with both feet together. The individual should then shuffle their feet, making sure to never break contact with the ground or cause separation between the feet. Do not attempt to return to the equipment and always wait for emergency responders and the power utility to respond.
For more information see the safety tips below or check out the spring harvest safety video on NPPD’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pqwRQwb-LU
• Each day review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around power lines and remind all workers to take precautions. Start each morning by planning the day’s work during a tailgate safety meeting.
• Know what jobs will happen near power lines and have a plan to keep the assigned workers safe.
• Know the location of power lines, and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them.
• Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
• Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
• Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your local public power utility to repair them.