In recognition of National Farm Safety and Health Week (September 17-23), Ameren Illinois and the Illinois Association Future Farmers of America (FFA) are joining together to share a few strategies for staying safe in the field.
“The safety and well-being of our customers is a top priority,” said Richard J. Mark, Chairman and President of Ameren Illinois. “Farm Safety Week is the perfect opportunity to remind farmers to always take time to look up, down, in front and behind when working in the field. Awareness is key to preventing most dangerous situations.”
Every year, farmers are killed or seriously injured while working on the farm.
It is especially important to be cognizant when operating large or oversize equipment such as portable grain augers, wagons and combines. According to the National Ag Safety Database, 62 farmers are electrocuted each year when equipment comes into contact with overhead powerlines.
Even getting too close to a power line (without physically coming into contact) is dangerous as electricity can “arc” or jump to the conducting material or object. Maintain at least a 10-foot clearance from powerlines in all directions to prevent accidents.
If equipment makes contact with energized wires, do not exit the cab until utility workers arrive to de-energize the line. Additionally, farmers who notice sagging lines should proactively call Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000.
The electric distribution and transmission lines surrounding farms can carry thousands of volts and should only be handled by qualified linemen.
Farmers are also reminded to call 8-1-1 (JULIE) prior to digging. This free service helps prevent farmers from inadvertently striking underground gas lines and subsequent service interruptions or injury.
“Most people do not realize that farming is a hazardous industry,” said Mindy Bunselmeyer, Executive Director of the Illinois Association FFA, an organization that offers a technical agriculture-based education to the next generation of farmers and agri-business professionals. “Instilling these safety values and teaching best practices at a young age helps ensure that young farmers develop a strong foundation that they can carry with them through adulthood.”
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles and our mission is to power the quality of life. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.