Columbus, Neb. - It’s harvest season in Nebraska. And Nebraska Public Power District is reminding farmers to “look up and around” for power lines when harvesting this fall.
A little over a week ago, a grain trailer came into contact with an NPPD power line, resulting in damage to the tires on the grain trailer and to the line itself. “It was very fortunate that no one was injured,” commented Transmission and Distribution Manager Art Wiese, about the contact with the power line. “We have had a few other power line contacts this year and are urging farm operators to look up and around in order to be aware of overhead power lines.”
Wiese noted that taking a few minutes to look for overhead electric lines may be life-saving time well spent.
While avoiding any contact is the best way to stay safe, NPPD wants everyone to know what to do if there is contact with a power line. If contact is made, remaining inside the equipment until help arrives is critical to everyone’s safety. Those involved in harvesting work should understand any contact with power lines carries the potential of a serious or fatal accident. And remember that the equipment doesn’t have to actually touch the power line to be in danger. Electricity can arc to the equipment if it comes close to the line.
“It’s always best to call for help first, and wait until the local public power utility arrives to make sure the line is de-energized,” said Wiese. “If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path and electrocution could happen. Even if a power line is on the ground, there is still the potential for the area nearby to be energized.”
If farm operators must exit the vehicle, the appropriate action is to jump – not step – with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Jump clear, do not touch the vehicle and ground at the same time, and continue to shuffle to safety, keeping both feet as close together as possible as you leave the area. Never simply step out of the vehicle — the person must jump clear.
NPPD recommends that farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations including: