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Home & Work Safety
Spring Safety Tips
Guard Against CO Poisoning
Fall Safety Tips
Farm Safety Tips
Holiday Safety Tips
Preparing for an Outage
National Electrical Safety Code Issues
Farm Safety Tips
Farm Safety Tips
Always make sure your augering system has a good ground connection.
Power line clearance requirements defined by the National Electrical Safety Code must be observed and respected. To learn more about NESC requirements, visit their website,
Know the location of overhead power lines and take extra care when moving equipment, to stay as far away from them as possible — a good rule of thumb is to stay at least 10 feet away. Know the height of all your equipment and lower the equipment (e.g., augers, bin hoists) before moving even a short distance. Have someone who knows minimum distance requirements watch for lines when moving equipment. If equipment does contact a power line, the operator should stay put in the equipment until MidAmerican Energy turns the power off. Call MidAmerican Energy at 800-799-4443.
Never attempt to raise or move a power line.
Watch for guy wires, which support power poles. Damaging guy wires can weaken the poles and even cause them to topple, bringing live power lines down onto the ground that can create an extremely hazardous situation.
Do not erect fence wire along the same route as overhead lines or string fence wire where it may spring and come into contact with the overhead line.
Make sure electrical boxes are covered and no bare wires are exposed to minimize the possibility of electric contact.
If there is the possibility of underground power lines or natural gas pipelines, call your one-call utility notification service well ahead of digging so underground utilities can be marked and you can work safely. In Iowa, call 800-292-8989; in Illinois, 800-892-0123; in South Dakota, 800-781-7474; in Nebraska, 800-331-5666. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Make sure all electrical outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets with faceplates. If there is water in the area, there should be a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlet. All outdoor outlets should use GFCIs. Do not use extension cords unless absolutely necessary. Check electrical appliances and equipment periodically to spot worn or cracked insulation, loose terminals, corroded wires, defective parts and any other components that might not work correctly. Have these appliances repaired at once by someone who knows how or replace them.
Install a lock-out switch. This can turn off all power from one area. This is important if there is an emergency or when working on the electrical system.
If it is necessary to enter a grain bin, shut off and lock out power before entering. Use a safety harness and safety line and have people available outside the bin in case of an emergency.
Unplug power tools when not in use.
When working on equipment, make sure that it is turned off, all rotating parts have stopped moving and safety locks are in place.
If there are any doubts about the electrical circuits, wiring and equipment on your farm, have a licensed electrician inspect them.
Make sure your shop is well lit. If the shop is heated, ensure it is properly vented and that flammable liquids are kept out of the shop area.
Make sure all electrical cords are undamaged.
Ground the entire electrical system. Protect ground wires and rods from damage.
Always use the correct fuse for the electrical control panel. Never replace fuses with items like pennies.
Never overload a circuit with high-wattage appliances.
In the shop, make sure there is an appropriate fire extinguisher and that it is in good operating condition.
Wear personal protective equipment while working around noisy equipment, aeration fans, dyers, etc. Standard personal protective equipment for a farm shop includes leather gloves, chemical-resistant gloves, safety glasses, face shields, earplugs or muffs, steel-toe boots, respirators, hard hats, protective aprons and welding shields.
Keep pesticides, veterinary medicines and milk house chemicals out of the reach of children. And make sure to store them in their original containers.
Remove junk piles, and store raw materials safely. To kids, these look like great play areas to explore.
Do not allow friends of your children to ride with young operators. Be a role model yourself and don't ride as a passenger; refuse to allow children to ride as passengers. If your tractor has a buddy seat, follow all the manufacturer's safety guidelines.
Make sure farm ponds and liquid manure storage facilities have fencing that children cannot climb over or squeeze through.
Elevate ladders leading to structures, like silos, at least seven feet off the ground to prevent kids from climbing on them.
Make certain all moving parts on equipment and tractors are properly guarded.
Child Safety Tips
Stay away from power lines and the wires that support the power poles.
Don't play in areas with lots of noise or dust since it could hurt your ears or your lungs.
Don't touch any chemicals around the farm.
One seat means one rider. Do not ride on the tractors or other equipment with your dad.
Idle equipment is not a toy. Stay away unless you are with your parents.
Wear sunscreen outside to protect your skin.
Older kids working on the farm should wear appropriate protective gear. Ask your mom or dad.
If you are riding on an ATV, wear a helmet.