close checkmark

Is GPS Putting Farmers at Risk?

April 3rd, 2017
Safety
Agriculture

Many farmers and agricultural workers use Global Position Systems (GPS) technology to make their work more productive and efficient. But does relying on this technology do more harm than good?

GPS equipment manufacturers have developed several tools for farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, tractor guidance, crop scouting, variable rate applications and yield mapping. As beneficial as this technology is, the growing use of GPS-controlled machinery may be adding to the risks associated with working near overhead power lines.

GPS systems on farm equipment often don't take into account the location or varying heights of all (or any) power lines on your property. Apart from the serious risks of injury or death, power line contacts can also damage vital utility infrastructure and cause power outages in nearby areas.

If you’re using GPS technology, follow these steps to minimize your risk of a power line contact:

  • Know the height and width of your equipment
  • Know the location and clearance height of all power lines on your property prior to beginning any activity
  • Reset your GPS equipment before every use
  • Pay close visual attention during GPS-guided operations to watch out for potential power line hazards
  • Use a spotter when moving large loads to alert you of sagging power lines that may not be visible on your GPS
  • Contact your local utility company with any specific concerns you may have about GPS operations near power lines

Learn more about safe distances for working near overhead power lines and Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety guidelines.

Related Posts

JUST Padmounted Transformer 800x418

Padmounted Transformer Safety

Padmounted transformers may not look threatening, but they carry the same amount of electricity as transmission lines – up to 35,000 volts.
February 26th, 2020
Safety
Underground
Overhead
Read Full Article double-arrows-right
07_power-line-contact-victim_Getty Images-957039486

The True Story of a Power Line Contact Victim

The day that then-lineman Rick Svecla had 25,000 volts of electricity surge through his body started out like any other day on the job. Here's his story.
February 15th, 2018
Safety
Read Full Article double-arrows-right
Getty Images-664661891-copy

Think a Power Line Contact Can't Happen to Your Crew? Think …

If your crew works near overhead or underground power lines, you need to read this.
September 13th, 2018
Safety
Construction
Read Full Article double-arrows-right

Contact Map

Think power line contacts are few and far between? Think again.
See the overhead and underground contacts occurring near you.

The Joint Utility Safety Team (JUST) is a partnership between the following Alberta electric utilities with contributions from local municipalities, formed to address the frequency of power line contacts across the province.