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June 2015 - From the Manager

It’s that time of year again. Farm equipment is on the move, and you have probably either found yourself behind some of it on our rural highways, or sitting in the cab of a tractor waving at people to go around you. Those of us here at Clay Electric want to encourage everyone to play it safe when passing slower moving farm equipment. Be sure you have plenty of room to get around, and keep in mind that often a tractor will have to move farther in the road to avoid a mailbox or other obstacle. 

    For those in the fields, we also want to ensure your safety. Many times, there are power lines running along the edge of your property. Try to leave at least ten feet between you and the pole. We call this the Ten Foot rule. 

    The Ten Foot rule refers to the distance extending 10 feet in every direction from any power line. It’s the distance you should observe when you’re working outdoors with equipment or machinery, such as a crane, forklift, backhoe, dump truck, drilling rig, or block loader.

    As in any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles, or rods into power lines. Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes, and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness and dust and dirt contamination. Do not try to clear storm damage debris and limbs near or touching power lines or near fallen lines.

    If you do accidentally come into contact with the pole, stop and immediately look to see if you have caused the wire to fall onto or near your vehicle. If you see something, then stay in the vehicle! If there is anyone else around, warn them to stay well back. The only time you should risk leaving the vehicle is to avoid a fire.

    In that case, the proper action is to jump - not step - with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Continue to shuffle or hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.

    Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment. Many electrocutions occur when the operator dismounts and, realizing nothing has happened, tries to get back on the equipment.

    Keep in mind, the overhead electric wires aren’t the only electrical contact that can result in a serious incident. Pole guy wires are grounded to neutral; but, when one of the guy wires is broken, it can cause an electric current disruption. This can make those neutral wires anything but harmless. If you hit a guy wire and break it, call us at 618-662-2171 to fix it. 

    Don’t do it yourself. 

    When dealing with electrical poles and wires, remember always call us. We are here to not only ensure you have reliable electric service, but also to ensure that service is delivered in a safe manner.

    For more information on working near, or around, power lines safely you can visit http://www.safeelectricity.org/ . The Energy Education Council has some really good resources on the site to help you.