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Power line safety a priority amid harvest season

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:03 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As harvest season continues across the state, South Dakota farmers are being reminded to prioritize safety.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agriculture industry ranked 4th in the most fatal work accidents in 2018.

The South Dakota Rural Electric Association knows the impact a power line can have on objects, and their best advice when being in the field this time of year is planning.

“Planning can go a long way to prevent an accident from happening on the farm. A lot of times we forget to take a 360-degree view of our surroundings, so we feel like if you can get into the practice of adopting that. Look up, look down, look all around,” Billy Gibson with the SDREA said.

Gibson says to stay at least 10 feet away from power lines and poles.

Reid Jensen, an Elk Point farmer, realizes the danger of electricity.

“Sometimes we have large sprayers that are out here and we have booms that go up in the air quite a way and if you were to touch some of those wires you’d be in big trouble,” said Jensen.

If your vehicle makes contact with a power line, it’s best to stay where you are.

Gibson added, “Stay inside that vehicle. The tires will act as an insulator, and what we recommend folks do is try to get on the phone and call your electric provider. Call for help and try to get somebody from the utility to get out there and de-energize that line.”

In a situation where your vehicle starts on fire, or you have to evacuate, Gibson says to jump to the ground with your heels touching and hop to safety.

He also reminds that steps to prevent an accident, are worth the time and effort.

“We think of what a pain and troublesome thing it is to try and prevent an accident from happening, it’s difficult to do that I understand, but it doesn’t compare to what you’re going to face if that tragedy you’re trying to prevent does occur,” said Gibson.

The SDREA emphasizes the importance of having a spotter or someone with you on the job and having a plan in case of an emergency.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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