Late planting season has farm workers behind schedule in getting out in the fields –
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – With the spring weather putting many farmers behind schedule on their planting, Alliant Energy is reminding rural customers to work safely around electrical equipment. Operators of heavy machinery, large sprayers, planters, and even those using ladders need to be aware of overhead power lines and underground natural gas pipelines.
This week, tractors and related equipment hit and damaged four power poles or lines in the Alliant Energy service territory. In each case, a piece of machinery snagged some part of the electrical equipment and pulled it down to the ground, either by passing next to it or under it. Fortunately, no one was hurt in these incidents.
“We understand the need for farmers and farm workers to get crops in quickly but safety must always be the number one priority,” said Michelle Olson, manager of agricultural compliance, Alliant Energy. “Machinery and equipment need to stay at least ten feet away from power lines.
Olson encourages people to take their time, be alert and put equipment in the lowered position before moving it under electric wires. Following basic farm safety rules can save lives.
Alliant Energy encourages customers to call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268), or their local utility if they come into contact with any piece of electrical equipment or underground natural gas pipeline. If the scene is dangerous or natural gas is blowing, customers should also call 911.
Alliant Energy offers the following outdoor safety checklist for agricultural customers working around electricity:
· Familiarize yourself with the location of all overhead and underground power lines, utility equipment such as meters and transformers, and the service panel at each of your buildings.
· If you are in a vehicle or piece of machinery that contacts an energized power line, stay in the vehicle until emergency personnel tell you it is safe to get out. If there is an immediate danger of a vehicle fire, jump out of the vehicle landing with both feet together. Never touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the vehicle without raising your feet.
· Know the location of underground lines before you dig. Call 811 at least three days before digging to get your underground facilities marked for free.
For more information about outdoor electrical safety, you can visit alliantenergy.com/agsafety.