Spring power line safety tips

  Spring 2016
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Source: ATCO Electric

Today’s farm equipment is bigger than ever, and that can mean big problems when you’re working around power lines. Stay safe with these tips:
  • Check the height of your equipment. If you’re buying it new, confirm the height, update your GPS with any changes and consider your route to ensure you can cross safely under power lines. Exercise caution if equipment is higher than 4.1 metres.
  • Stay seven metres away from power lines. Keep this in mind when operating grain augers or air seeders, or when lifting truck boxes or back hoes.
  • Stack and store wisely. Whether it’s a grain bin or bale storage, stack and store it seven metres away from power lines.
  • Plan before moving tall equipment. Map your route and locate any overhead power lines. If you don’t know whether it’s safe to cross under or work near a power line, call your service provider for help.
  • Click before you dig. Before digging or driving posts into the ground, visit alberta1call.com to request an underground locate. Utilities are closer to the surface of the ground than you think.
  • Assume downed power lines are energized. Stay at least 10 metres away and warn others of the danger. Call 911 or your service provider’s emergency line or you can visit wherestheline.ca.

Responding to power line contacts

Contact with power lines is 100 per cent preventable when you plan ahead, know the size of your equipment and watch for lines.

But if you do happen to contact a power line with your equipment, avoid injury or death with these steps:
  1. Break the contact. Do what you can to break the electrical circuit. When possible, move the arm of your sprayer or auger, or whatever is touching the line, away from the line.
  2. Stay put and keep others away. If you can’t break the contact, stay in your vehicle, keep others away and call for help.
  3. Call for help. Call 911 or your service provider’s emergency line so crews can isolate and ground the line to make it safe to work around.

If you must exit your vehicle, follow these steps to stay safe:
  1. Call for help. Call 911 or your service provider’s emergency line.
  2. Open the door to your vehicle. Be sure to open it as wide as possible.
  3. Jump from your vehicle, landing with both feet together. When jumping, make sure you don’t touch the vehicle and ground at the same time.
  4. Shuffle or hop, don’t step. After you jump, shuffle or hop at least 10 metres away. Make sure the heel of one foot never passes the toe of the other. Don’t touch anything (vehicle, passengers) until you’re clear, and don't return to your vehicle until help arrives and tells you it's safe.
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This information published to the web on March 15, 2016.