In recognition of National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 18-24, Ameren Illinois is joining with Safe Electricity to share tips on how farmers can avoid dangers when working in the field.
“The harvest season is one of the busiest times of the year and the long hours can present hazardous situations for farmers who are not familiar with the risks,” said Karen Boulanger, director of safety for Ameren Illinois. “National Farm Safety and Health Week provides a great opportunity to remind farmers to stay aware of their surroundings while working outdoors.”
Direct contact with electrical lines is a hazard that is easily overlooked in the fields. Every year, an average of 62 farm workers are electrocuted in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The most common causes of electrocutions are portable grain augers, oversized wagons, large combines and other tall equipment that inadvertently make contact with overhead power lines.
“There are many steps farmers should take to help keep themselves and workers safe when operating in the vicinity of electricity,” said Kyla Kruse, communications director for the Energy Education Council and its Safe Electricity program. “Farmers can easily find themselves in dangerous proximity to overhead lines when using large equipment. Noting the location of those wires before beginning any work can help reduce and prevent accidents.”
Safe Electricity provides the following tips to help keep farm workers safe:
Farmers are also reminded to be mindful of natural gas and other underground facilities that may be located on or near their property. Before digging or installing new facilities, property owners are required by state law to call JULIE (Joint Utility Location Information for Excavators) by dialing 811 at least two working days before the start of any project. This free service may help prevent an interruption to service or avoid damaging underground facilities while digging.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.
About the Energy Education Council
The Energy Education Council is a 501(c 3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, the Council is headquartered within University of Illinois Extension and serves as a forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety. Learn more at EnergyEdCouncil.org and SafeElectricity.org.