During the harvest season, many farmers reap the benefits of advancement in agricultural technology. With the help of GPS auto-steer devices, farmers are able to decrease driver error and maximize productivity. Yet despite these advances, safety risks remain. To help farmers stay out of harm’s way, Boone REMC shares tips for a safe harvest.
GPS with auto-guidance provides farmers with real-time location data about a field, which can be used for crop planning, map making, navigation assistance and machinery guidance. During harvest, this technology allows drivers to have their hands off the steering wheel as the combine maneuvers itself through the field. Thanks to this technology, farmers can more easily and efficiently maintain accuracy even during low-light conditions, which enhances productivity.
In equipment with auto-guidance systems, less focus is needed on steering, which may lead some drivers to think that they do not need to be as aware of navigation issues. However, even while using a GPS with auto-steering, farm workers need to keep safety in mind and stay focused on their surroundings. Putting safety first requires alertness, focus and knowledge of potential hazards and safety steps.
Regardless the technology used on the farm, keep the following electrical safety guidelines in mind:
• Use a spotter when operating large machinery near power lines.
• Keep equipment at least 10 feet from power lines — at all times, in all directions.
• Look up and use care when moving any equipment such as extending augers or raising the bed of grain trucks around power lines.
• Inspect the height of farm equipment to determine clearance.
• Always set extensions to the lowest setting when moving loads to prevent contact with overhead power lines. Grain augers should always be positioned horizontally before being moved.
• Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance.
• If a power line is sagging or low, contact Boone REMC.
If your equipment does make contact with a power line, do not leave the cab. Immediately call 911, warn others to stay away and wait for the utility crew to cut the power.
The only reason to exit equipment that has come into contact with overhead lines is if the equipment is on fire, which is rare. However, if this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together and without touching the machinery and the ground at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, hop to safety as you leave the area.