hazards that farmers deal with are routine, everyday exposures.
As a result of this routine, the farmer could perceive the
risk as less than it really is. Few things are more standard
today than electricity. Depended upon to make our lives easier
and more comfortable, electricity may only become a consideration
when it is NOT where we need or want it. This situation can
and does cause death, injury, and property damage every year.
most of us keep our distance from transformers and equipment
that requires large amounts of electricity, we tend to overlook
other situations-a small light bulb, for instance. The current
used by a 7½-watt Christmas tree light bulb is only
60/1000 (60 milliamperes) ampere. This is much more than the
8-10/1000 (8-10 milliamperes) ampere that does not allow a
person to let go of a wire with current running through it.
If the current goes through the heart, cardiac arrest can
occur. One can imagine the results from 20 or 30 amperes,
the sizes of the smallest fuses or breakers commonly in use.
While it is true that a person can survive a much higher current,
that possibility is not something that should be counted on.
Items that are overlooked and can cause problems include:
Panels: Many newer electrical installations use breakers;
however, many older panels use fuses.
use the proper-sized fuses or breakers in the boxes. Use
of the proper size will prevent overheating of the wire
from excess current. If a fuse is repeatedly blown, or a
breaker is repeated tripped, find the cause.
panels should lock, and fuse boxes
should be locked in the "off" position. This will prevent
turning on the power while you are working on equipment
check the panel and boxes for spider webs and mouse and
insect nests, particularly the older installations that
may not be sealed properly. Cleaning around the panels may
seem useless but can help to prevent overheating.
It is preferable that all outlets be of the three-prong
older outlets have only two slots, which will need an adapter
for three-prong tools. Also, if old enough, the slots can
be the same size rather than one slot being longer. Consideration
should be given to replacing outlets that will not accept
three-prong adapters. Upgrading outlets to the grounded
type will provide the most protection.
areas that tend to remain wet, a ground fault circuit interrupter
is necessary. These devices can interrupt a power surge
in as little as 25/1000 of a second. Adapters to plug into
three-prong outlets are available, in order to provide protection
at the outlet. In addition, ground fault circuit interrupter
breakers are available to protect a whole circuit.
C. Extension Cords:
times an extension cord that is being used "temporarily"
can become "permanent". If a piece of equipment is going
to stay in one place for any length of time, it should have
a properly grounded outlet. Extension cords can be damaged
from being walked on and by heavy items being dropped on
misuse of an extension cord occurs when it does not contain
wire long enough for the tool being used. Even if used only
for a short period of time, a wire used with a tool that
is too large for its capacity could cause heat to build
up and damage the insulation on the wires. This damage could
remain unseen for a long time, thus giving rise to a potentially
sure outside electric lines are high enough to allow machinery
underneath. This is especially true around grain bins where
grain augers are being used. The number one electrical hazard
on a farm is the potential contact from a grain auger.
check the grounding rods and wires around buildings and
power poles. These rods and wires can become damaged and
broken. If damaged, the overall system will not provide
adequate grounding protection. Since electricity follows
the easiest path to ground, these grounding rods and wires
are the major source of providing that easy path.
recommendations are only a few of those that relate to electricity
and its safe use. For specific questions related to your operation,
your electrical provider is the best source for answers.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.