FARM & RANCH SAFETY
LOOK UP FOR OVERHEAD LINES.
When working on your farm or ranch, please remember these safety tips.
Always look up before beginning any activity, especially when moving equipment and raising long or tall objects. Maintain the 10-foot Circle of Safety rule: keep everyone and everything—you, the tools and materials you are handling and the equipment you are operating—at least 10 feet away from all overhead power lines. Higher voltage lines require more distance.
Please irrigate with care
• Never stand an irrigation pipe on end near a power line.
• Locate irrigation pumps at least 100 feet away from overhead lines. This distance will provide a safe area if you have to pull your pumping or well equipment for repairs.
• Stack irrigation pipe, hay and hay bales away from power lines.
• Use caution when moving equipment near power poles.
• Beware of hooking guy wires when moving equipment. Keep vehicles, tools, pipes and people clear of guy wires at all times. If you strike a guy wire or pole, please call us immediately at 406-446-2310.
• When you move equipment near power lines, have someone spot for you. Always lower equipment, tools and pipes before moving them anywhere near power lines.
Equipment and power
If your tractor, truck, combine or other equipment makes contact with a power line, stay on board to remain safe. Be sure to warn others to stay away from the area. If the equipment is operable and can be moved out of contact without doing additional damage to the line or poles, do so.
• As long as the equipment is in contact with a line, do not step off the equipment. If you must get off because of fire or another emergency, JUMP clear of the equipment with both feet together, making sure that you never touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Once off the equipment, hop away, keeping both feet together. Get to a safe place, then call us immediately at 406-446-2310 to report the contact.
For other information and for safety assistance around power lines, please call us anytime at 406-446-2310.
Several serious farm-related accidents have occurred.
The following incidents could have caused life-altering injuries or even death. Each one could have been prevented.
• While attempting to shake a rat from inside an irrigation pipe, two teenage boys upended the pipe into a 7,200-volt overhead power line, knocking both unconscious and causing one to suffer burn injuries.
• While attempting to shake leaves from inside an irrigation pipe, a husband and wife lifted a pipe into a 7,200-volt overhead power line. The electricity grounded through the pipe and then their bodies and caused burn injuries.
• Using a backhoe, a farmer attempted to relocate a utility pole and attached power transformer. The attempt failed and disconnected electrical power. The farmer then used a metal ladder to climb the utility pole and attempted to open the transformer fuse. He was severely shocked and fell 20 feet to the ground.
You can avoid these situations—treat all overhead conductors as “energized.”
Most overhead power lines are not insulated. The most important thing you can do is know the location of all power lines on or near your farm or ranch, and point them out to anyone who helps with farm or ranch activities such as employees, temporary workers and family members, including children. Then take some of the following precautions to stay safe:
• Never lift long or tall items such as irrigation pipes or move grain augers in the raised position near overhead power lines. Contact with high-voltage power lines can cause loss of limbs, severe internal and external burns, heart irregularities or even death.
• Never store materials such as hay or irrigation pipes directly underneath or on the ground adjacent to overhead power lines. If a power line comes down in a storm or accident, any items underneath can become energized or catch fire.
• Never attempt to move a utility pole yourself. It is extremely dangerous and illegal. If a pole must be moved, please call 406-446-2310.