Agriculture is one of Canada’s three most hazardous industries.
According to a 2012 Ispos Reid survey of operators of large equipment (Operators), 43% of farmers reported more direct hits or near misses with power lines. Farmers are also less likely to identify power lines as a major threat (13%) compared to oil and gas workers (47%).
With worksite and home often being one in the same, farmers and ranchers aren’t always keeping an eye out for hidden hazards. Complacency is also a concern with switching back and forth between many routine tasks.
Keep these key tips in mind when working in the fields:
- Raising and lowering wings, booms or extensions: Be aware of nearby power lines. Extensions on equipment can reach as high as 7.9 metres. Also consider antennas that may be on top of equipment.
- Moving equipment on your property: Call your utility company before transporting any major equipment, even when moving from field to field on your farm or ranch. The utility company will map out the various heights of each power line so that you can identify the potential trouble spots and plan ahead.
- Hazards when erecting fence wire: Don’t install the wire along the same route as power lines and don’t strain it where it could spring and make contact with power lines.
- Ladders, poles and antennas: Keep all items away from power lines leading to the house or other buildings on the property.
- Hay and grain piles, buildings and silos: Keep these seven metres away from power lines.
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