There have been five farm fatalities in Alberta since 2010, as a result of farmers moving equipment into energized power lines.
Unfortunately, many farmers don’t realize that the size of their equipment – like drills and sprayers – has increased, while the height of power lines has remained the same.
Both the width and the height of equipment must be considered during field use, as well as when moving equipment from one location to another.
“Everybody wants ‘bigger and better’, but we have to remember what that entails in terms of not just using, but transporting equipment,” said Cheryl Hellekson of Camrose Farm Equipment Limited, who encourages farmers to think through the logistics when buying new equipment.
According to Hellekson, the majority of farm power line incidents occur during the busy spring seeding and fall harvesting seasons.
Keep these tips in mind:
- When traveling or transporting equipment 4.15 metres or higher down any public road or highway in Alberta, you need a permit from Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation (1-800-662-7138)
- If your equipment or load is 5.3 metres or higher, you must contact the local electrical utility at least seven days in advance
- Know the height of your equipment and all power lines on your farm. Call your local electric utility to determine this – never do it yourself
- Be aware that some lines can be as low as 3.7 metres. Severe weather can also cause power lines to sag lower, reducing the height between your equipment and the power line.
- Always lower your equipment prior to moving it.
- When folding/unfolding wings or extensions, be aware of nearby power lines. Allow at least seven metres clearance between your equipment and power lines.