For many farmers, football season also marks the dawn of the harvest season. Farmers across the state and the country will soon be taking part in numerous harvesting activities, which could signal a jump in the number of injuries that take place in rural areas. With that in mind, the folks at MidAmerican Energy have released a series of safety tips that harvesters can put into action in order to ensure safety.
Safety starts with your grain bin. If you need to gain access to the structure, then your first step will be shutting off the electricity in the area so that you aren’t shocked. Once that’s complete, you can turn your attention to different hazards, such as suffocation or falling.
The first thing you might do to ensure safety in this regard is to have someone with you when you set out to enter the bin. Rather than simply entering the structure without protection, have a harness ready to go so that you can be pulled out of the unit if for some reason you fall.
Since the tips hail from an energy company, it makes sense that much of the precautions they urge relate to electrical safety. Farms that have power lines on the property require extra precautions that other areas might not, especially if those lines are in areas that are about to be harvested.
Any equipment you’re going to be using should have adequate clearance so that there’s no chance it’s going to strike the lines strung up above. Augers, cultivators, and planters might each be tall enough to strike a line under the right conditions, and thus you should measure the distance when in the folded and field position to ensure you can safely pass through a given area.
Of course, the lines up above your head are but the first hazard; the second is the utility poles that actually holds up those lines. Such poles should be given a wide berth. If a piece of equipment ever does end up making contact with a power line, either because a pole was knocked over or the vehicle was too tall, you need to be extremely cautious.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, stay put in your seat if this happens. The biggest danger occurs if you try to get down; when you touch both the ground and the equipment, the threat of a shock rises dramatically. Instead, stick around until emergency or utility officials can come by.
If, however, a fire is a possibility, then you’ll need to get down. Rather than climbing down normally, you’ll want to leap away, getting as much clearance as you can. That way, your risk is mitigated because you’re not touching the ground and the equipment at the same time.