|Know How to Stay Safe When Using Farm Irrigation Equipment|
|Library of Articles - Farm Safety|
Irrigation electrical hazards are a growing problem in many regions of the country. In the summer heat and dry season, farm irrigation can be vital for profitability. However, it is equally vital that operators know and follow proper safety precautions to avoid potentially deadly electrical accidents when operating and handling the watering systems.
Farm operators should keep in mind that metal and water are conductors of electricity while working around irrigation equipment. Aluminum irrigation pipes, while lightweight and easier to handle, are an excellent conductor of electricity. It is best to avoid moving irrigation pipe and equipment on windy days, as a sudden gust could lift pipes into overhead power lines. This power line contact could prove fatal to a person holding the pipe.
“Remember, water and electricity is a dangerous mix,” said Mike Bird, electrical safety expert and member of the Safe Electricity Advisory Board. “Electricity follows the shortest path to the ground and can flow through any conductive material, such as water or metal. Do not allow irrigation water nozzles to spray on power lines. A water stream hitting a power line could energize the entire system, creating a shock hazard to anyone nearby or in contact with the equipment.”
Take some time to survey your surroundings before moving equipment. Look up and around you; note any power lines that could be close enough to come into contact with equipment – and stay away.
“Always know the location of nearby electrical lines when working with irrigation equipment,” said Bird. “Any contact between the irrigation equipment and nearby electrical lines could be fatal or cause serious injury.”
To ensure safe operation of irrigation equipment, Safe Electricity offers the following tips:
“If an irrigation pipe comes in contact with a power line, never try to remove it yourself,” said Bird. “Stay away from the pipe, and call your local electric utility for help.”