October 16, 2023
There is no off-season for accidents involving electricity. You do your best to keep equipment from touching power lines. But if the unthinkable happens, do you know how to keep yourself safe until help arrives?
Many people aren’t well versed on every type of accident that could occur, says Fred Whitford, director of Purdue Pesticide Programs. That’s why he sought help from experts and wrote Overhead Power and Communication Lines: Don’t Get Grounded. It’s publication PPP-151, the latest in a series of publications from Purdue Pesticide Programs. Order a printed copy at edustore.purdue.edu.
“If the incident involves your employee, and you are first to arrive, tell the driver to stay put,” Whitford says. “Call both 911 and the utility right away. If others drive up, keep them away. Tell them to stay in their vehicle.”
What if it’s you in the cab? “It’s critical to stay in the cab until linemen arrive and deenergize the line,” Whitford says. “Tires provide insulation against electricity moving from wires to ground. Even with a live line on the cab, you’re safe inside the cab.”
This is the same principle that keeps birds perched on power lines safe, he explains.
You may feel a slight tingle because electricity is flowing. “As long as there is no fire or immediate danger, don’t panic,” Whitford says. “Just stay put!”
An unsafe cab
If tires or other parts of the vehicle are on fire, it’s a whole different scenario, Whitford explains. Now the cab is unsafe, and you have little choice but to exit. However, one mistake could result in injury or death.
“Leap off and get clear of the machine,” Whitford says. “Aim to land comfortably without getting hung up on equipment or falling backward. Jump away from the down power line. Get low, cross your hands over your body and maintain your balance. Hit with your feet close together.”
To move forward, you have two options, he observes. Either shuffle both feet, rubbing your shoes together, or do the “bunny hop.” In either case, keep your arms and feet together.
Doing the bunny hop may sound silly, but Whitford says it could save your life. “You’re trying to stay within a single voltage zone,” he explains. “If you spread your feet, crawl away or run away, you’re much more likely to be in two different charges, and electricity will flow through you.”
The bottom line is that it’s better to look silly for a few seconds than risk injury or death, Whitford concludes.
Read more about:Farm Safety
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
Current Conditions for
Enter a zip code to see the weather conditions for a different location.
USDA exports – Unknown buys soybeans, November 28, 2023Jan 19, 2023
Weather hinders record South American exportsNov 28, 2023
Create a winning 2024 grain marketing planNov 28, 2023
Corn, soybeans bounce following Monday’s lossesJan 19, 2023