Do You Know... that each year 3.6 percent of the deaths of youths under age 20 on farms are caused by electrocution? Electrocution is quick and deadly and is one of the most overlooked hazards of farm work. The most common cause of electrocutions are portable grain augers, oversized wagons, large combines, and other tall equipment that come into contact with overhead power lines. Every year 62 farm workers are electrocuted in the United States.
A 15-year-old boy died when a section of aluminum pipe came in contact
with a 7,200-volt power line.
|Teen Safety Solutions
Employers have the primary responsibility for protecting the safety and health of their workers. Employees are responsible for following the safe work practices of their employers.
- Be aware that the following types of farm machinery can
accidentally brush or get hung up in overhead power lines while in use or being moved:
- Tractors with front-end loaders.
- Portable grain augers.
- Fold-up cultivators.
- Moving grain elevators.
- Irrigation pipes.
- Equipment with antennas.
- Watch out for overhead electrical
- Know where power lines are located.
- Treat all overhead power lines as though they are bare and uninsulated.
- Keep all equipment away from overhead lines.
- Always be aware of where power
- Using ladders.
- Harvesting tree crops.
- Moving equipment.
- Always use pre-planned routes that avoid power lines when moving equipment.
Aluminum pipe coming in contact with power lines can be dangerous.
- Know what to do if equipment you are operating comes in contact with an overhead power
- Stay on the equipment.
- Ask for someone to immediately contact the local utility company to remove the danger.
- If there is an emergency such as an electrical fire and you must leave the equipment, jump as far away from the equipment as possible.
- Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at same time.
- Shuffle away from where you jumped; do not take large strides. Too large a step could put each foot in a different voltage zone and
- Once away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch it. Many electrocutions occur when the worker dismounts,
then gets back on the equipment.
- Remember that prevention is the best way to handle emergencies. Respect electricity and avoid contact with overhead lines.
|Employer Safety Solutions
|Employers have the primary responsibility for
protecting the safety and health of their workers. Employees are responsible for
following the safe work practices of their employers.
Follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) including:
Consider implementing recommended safe work practices, including:
- Some agricultural jobs are too dangerous for anyone under 16 to perform. No
youth under 16 years of age may be employed at any time in any
of these Hazardous Occupations in Agriculture
operating or helping to operate, starting, stopping, adjusting, feeding or any other activity involving physical
contact with the following machines:
- HO/A #2, Corn picker, cotton picker,
grain combine, hay mover, forage harvester, hay baler, potato
digger, mobile pea viner, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage
blower, auger conveyor, power post-hole digger, power post
driver, nonwalking type rotary tiller, or the unloading
mechanism of a non-gravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer.
HO/A #3, Trencher or earth moving equipment, forklift, potato
combine, or power-drive circular, band, or chain saw.
HO/A #6, Working from a ladder
or scaffold at a height of over 20 feet (working includes
painting, repairing, or building structures, pruning trees,
picking fruit, etc.).
- Develop a "safety first"
attitude. Follow safe work practices all the time and set
a good example for others.
- Provide adequate training for all workers. Train them in
rescue and emergency procedures so everyone in your
operation knows what to do in an electrical emergency.
Train workers that if equipment gets hung up in a power line,
- Not get off the machinery unless in immediate danger.
- Avoid touching the ground and the equipment at the same time, so
they will not become a channel for electricity.
- Train workers that if they have an
electrical emergency and must leave the equipment, they should:
- Jump as far away as possible, then shuffle away from danger.
- Never get back on machinery that touches a power line until the utility company disconnects the line.
- Train seasonal employees about dangers and give additional reminders.
- Determine transport and clearance
height for farm equipment. Ask your local utility company
to help determine line heights in all areas of the farm.
Never measure line heights yourself.
- Plan and develop routes for moving
equipment to avoid power lines and train workers to follow these
- Train workers that when moving equipment they should:
- Know where all overhead power lines are located.
- Know pre-planned routes between fields, to bins and elevators, and on public roads to avoid low-hanging power lines.
- Keep all equipment and objects at least 10 feet away from overhead lines.
- Always lower a portable grain auger before you allow workers to move it, even
just a few feet.
- Apply decals to all equipment that may pose electrical hazards and explain decals to workers who work with
- Determine risks for potential electrical shock and restrict
access to those areas.
- Locate all buried lines and keep the information available for
reference before any digging operations.
- Inspect the farm for areas of special
concern with potential electricity hazards. Livestock houses are dusty, moist, and
corrosive environments. Supply waterpoof, dustproof, and explosion proof electrical boxes,
outlets, and motors in these areas to ensure reliable and safe electricity throughout the
- Contact your local power company for more information on electrical safety.
Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Adolescent Workers. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-125, (1995, May).
Preventing Grain Auger Electrocutions. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-119, (1986, July).
Worker Deaths by Electrocution. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-131, (1998, May).
Controlling Electrical Hazards. OSHA Publication 3075, (2002).
Electrical Hazards on the Farm. National Ag Safety Database.
Electrical Safety in Agriculture. National Ag Safety Database, (1996, October).
SAFE FARM - Promoting Agricultural Health & Safety: Electrocution Hazards On the Farm. National Ag Safety Database.
News Release: Electrocution on the Farm. National Ag Safety Database, (1992, November).
First Aid For Electrical Accidents. National Ag Safety Database.
Cotton Harvester Operator Fatally Electrocuted. National Ag Safety Database, (1994, February).
Childhood Agricultural Injury. National Ag Safety Database, (1996, September).
Fatal Unintentional Farm Injuries Among Persons Less than 20 Years of Age in the United States: Geographic Profiles. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-131, (2001, July). Summarizes fatal farm injuries to people under 20
years of age from 1982 to 1996.
Injuries Among Youth on Farms in the United States 1998 [2 MB PDF, 191 pages]. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-154, (2001, June).