NPPD Urging Power Line Safety with Farmers

NPPD Urging Power Line Safety with Farmers
Power was knocked out to customers after a boom spreader accidentally got tangled in power lines (Photo courtesy NPPD)

COLUMBUS – Nebraska Public Power District is urging farmers to be more cautious as spring time weather begins to warm up.

NPPD says in a press release that farmers can get there equipment caught in overhead power lines if they are not wary of where they are turning.

“This is a scenario that occurs every year, so it’s important that all farm workers look up and around and determine where power lines are before moving large pieces of equipment under them,” said Nebraska Public Power District Director of Delivery Art Wiese. “We want all farmers and their crews to be safe when doing their work and we want to be able to keep the lights on.”

Wiese says if a piece of equipment is caught in power lines, the equipment operator should remain in their vehicle and  call 911 immediately. Wiese says it is possible that the line could still be energized, and will need to be removed by professionals.

If there is an imminent threat, such as a fire, NPPD says the vehicle operator should jump as far as possible from the vehicle, and then shuffle their feet inches at a time, never separating their feet from the ground, as they move away from the vehicle.

“A few years ago we had a farmer with a boom sprayer make contact with an 115,000-kilovolt transmission line and fortunately was not hurt,” Wiese explained. The contact created an outage that affected several hundred NPPD customers and at least two rural public power districts. “The farmer, who was pretty startled and was not hurt, did not realize the length of the boom sprayer and made contact with the transmission line. That’s why it is important to look up and around.”

NPPD offered some additional tips which you can see listed below. 

* Everyone who works on the farm should know the location of power lines and keep farm equipment at least 20 feet away. The minimum 20-foot distance is a 360-degree rule – below, to the side and above lines. That’s where look up and around comes into play.

* Farmers and their equipment should always be 10 feet away from power lines on all sides. Field cultivators and equipment such as sprayers can often reach as high as 12 feet in the air. Practice extreme caution and use a spotter to make sure you stay far away from power lines when using tall equipment.

* If you have purchased new equipment, be aware of antennas or other attachments that may pose new hazards. A newer, bigger piece of equipment may no longer clear a line. In addition, shifting soil may also affect whether or not machinery avoids power lines from year-to-year.

* Power lines also sag over the years. If power lines on your property are sagging excessively, contact your electric cooperative to repair the lines. Never try to move or raise a power line.

* Overhead power lines are not the only electric hazard on the farm. Pole guy wires, used to stabilize utility poles, are grounded. However, when one of the guy wires is broken, it can become charged with electricity. If you break a guy wire, call the utility to fix it. Don’t do it yourself

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