COLUMBUS – As planting season continues, farmers are being encouraged to look up and look out for powerlines.
According to a release from the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), farmers have made their way back out to the field for planting season and NPPD is asking equipment operators to be aware of any powerlines located along the fields they are working in to ensure they can complete their work safely.
NPPD Transmission and Distribution Construction and Maintenance Manager Scott Walz said, “planting season is a busy time for many of our customers in the ag community and it’s important that we remind operators the importance of working safely around powerlines. Many pieces of equipment have large booms or can sit tall enough to get near powerlines. If equipment gets close, or contacts a powerline, it can cause serious or fatal injury, and can also result in power outages and damage to equipment as well as vehicle electronics.”
If a vehicle or piece of equipment is in contact with a powerline, call 911 or your local power provider and remain inside the vehicle until help can arrive and deenergize the powerline. When a powerline is touching a vehicle, it can electrify both the vehicle and the ground in the surrounding area. If a fire forces you to exit the vehicle, then do so by jumping away from the vehicle, landing on two feet and shuffling as far away from the area as possible.
NPPD recommends farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations.
Make sure to review all farm activities and work practices each day that will take place around powerlines and remind all workers to take precautions; know the location of powerlines 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; use caution when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck or wagon as it can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a powerline is closer than it looks, for large equipment, use a spotter to ensure the equipment stays a safe distance from the line and always adjust portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level – under 14 feet – before transporting them as variables like wind, uneven ground or shifting weight can cause unexpected results.
Find more information on farm safety at NPPD.com.