Columbus, Neb. – Spring flooding has caused Nebraska farmers to have an unusual growing season, but as operators head out to harvest crops, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to remind farmers to look up and look out for power lines.
Hitting power lines becomes a significant hazard during the harvest season, as farmers take large pieces of equipment back out to the field. “It’s important for operators to be cautious when working in areas that have power lines,” says NPPD Director of Delivery Art Weise. “It’s easy for an operator to accidentally get a piece of equipment stuck in a power line if they are not completely aware of their surroundings.”
In July, NPPD saw an example of this when a well drilling rig being driven through a field became tangled in an overhead power line, causing a localized power outage. Luckily no one was injured.
“Avoiding contact with power lines is the best way to stay safe, but if a piece of your equipment hits a power line, calling for help is an important step in avoiding potentially fatal injuries,” says Wiese. “When a powerline is touching a piece of equipment, that piece of equipment and the area surrounding it could be energized.” If you are forced to exit the vehicle, the appropriate action is to jump – not step – with both feet landing on the ground at the same time without falling. Do not touch the vehicle and ground at the same time and begin shuffling your feet on the ground to safety. Never simply step out of the vehicle – the person must jump clear of the equipment.
NPPD recommends that farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations, or for more details and video footage follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfikot58Fkk.