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Agriculture Safety

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Power line clearance is essential for agriculture safety

IID reminds the agricultural community to take caution when working near power lines. By taking the proper precautions and adhering to IID’s power line clearance standards, you can help maintain reliability of the electrical system and prevent accidents, injuries and service interruptions. Safe and reliable electric service can be protected by preventing fire risks and the liability of costly repairs or replacement of damaged IID infrastructure by the at-fault party.

Any material, equipment, machinery, crops, haystacks or other similar items stored under, or in close proximity to, these power lines pose a severe hazard and potential liability. Protect yourself and IID’s thousands of miles of overhead energy transmission and distribution lines by following these tips when you work around power lines, poles and facilities.

Keep your hay safe and away from power lines

Please protect your assets and yourself from liability. In particular, haystacks can pose an imminent danger as they can catch fire. While there can be many causes (lightning, sparks from working machinery, embers from controlled brushfires, etc.), the leading cause in many rural areas, particularly in hot climates, is self-ignition through spontaneous combustion. Green or damp hay encourages bacteria and fungi to grow and decompose. A series of complex biological and chemical reactions can then cause heat build-up. This can produce flammable gasses which may ignite. In fact, just one damp bale is enough to ignite an entire haystack and if the fire results in damages to IID facilities, the land owner may be liable for thousands of dollars in damages.

Store hay outside of IID power-line clearance corridors and prevent haystack fires by following these safety precautions:

  • Ensure hay is fully cured before bailing.
  • Keep haystacks to a limited size.
  • Store hay bales away from vehicles, machinery and equipment.
  • Store hay away from flood-ways to minimize moisture content.
  • Protect haystacks from rain.
  • Monitor hay with a correctly calibrated moisture meter. Moisture content should be no more than 20 percent.

Be aware and stay safe during field work

  • Always look for power lines and poles before you begin work and warn fellow workers of any concerns.
  • Assume all overhead lines are energized, including service drops that run from poles to buildings.
  • Avoid parking vehicles with extensions, like cranes, scissors or cherry pickers, near overhead lines.
  • Move irrigation pipe, ladders and other farm equipment even with the ground to avoid hitting power lines. Do not raise irrigation pipe into the air.
  • When pruning or working in or near trees, be careful not to come into contact with power lines. You may submit a request for IID to de-energize a service drop or power line if needed to safely complete your project.
  • Work with a spotter to help avoid potential problems.
  • Call the Underground Service Alert number, toll-free, at 8-1-1 or 1-800-422-4133, two workings days before starting a project. Experts will locate electric, gas, telephone, water and sewer lines on or near your project site.

Details about IID’s regulations for power line clearance is contained in Regulation No. 23, Clearance Requirements for Power Line Corridors. For more information, see Regulation No. 23 at https://www.iid.com/home/showdocument?id=17897.