Agricultural Engineering Safety Lesson Plan: Electrical Safety


Learn common sense safety rules that should be used when working with electricity in and agricultural structures.


Safety glasses, hard hat, gloves, steel-toes shoes or boots, tool belt, rubber mat, portable ground fault circuit interrupter, circuit tester.


  1. Wear appropriate clothing, shoes, and headgear for the job to be done. A hard hat and steel-toed footwear will help protect you from falling objects. Rubber heels and soles without nails help insulate against shock. Clothing should fit well and not be too loose or baggy. Do not wear metal rings and watchbands that might get caught on something. Wear safety glasses if there is a chance of flying particles.
  2. Use tools that protect you. Use only UL listed power tools. Double insulated power tools offer valuable protection against electric shock. Hand tools, like screwdrivers and pliers, should have insulated handles. Three wire tools.
  3. Keep tools in good condition. Repair or replace damaged tools. If an extension cord is used in your agricultural structure, be sure it is protected by GFCI, use the portable type.
  4. Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) on power sources. If you are in the process of construction and the power source is not protected by GFCI, use the portable type.
  5. Keep the structure clean. Good housekeeping habits can prevent injuries to humans and animals.
  6. When working in a damp location, take precautions against shock. Do not stand on wet ground or a damp floor when using electrical equipment. Stand on a rubber mat or other non-conducting material for protection. Use GFCI.
  7. Never work on a "hot" electrical circuit. Disconnect power to the branch before you work on wiring or equipment. Test the circuit to be sure it is not live by plugging in a lamp or circuit tester. Lock out tagout to prevent another person from turning power back on. Type of extension cord to use? Never!
  8. Use heavy-walled conduit. If agricultural buildings, conduit may be subject to severe physical abuse, hence the need for heavy-walled conduit.
  9. Use a watertight, non-metallic conduit in such wet locations as milking parlors and fruit and vegetable processing areas.
  10. In agricultural buildings, wiring devices, boxes and fittings that are water tight and dust tight, and made of corrosion-resistant materials.
  11. Follow code requirements for wiring livestock facilities. Following are examples of facilities that must meet strict code requirements. Buildings that house livestock in confinement and are totally enclosed and environmentally controlled; buildings where excessive dust or dust with water may accumulate; buildings where animal excrement may cause corrosive vapors in the confinement area; buildings where corrosive particles may combine with water; and buildings where the area is damp and wet because of frequent washing with water and sanitizing agents.
  12. Lighting fixtures that may be exposed to moisture from condensation or building cleaning water must be water tight.
  13. Lighting fixtures that may be exposed to physical damage from dust, moisture, or corrosive gases must be protected by a suitable guard.
  14. Electrical circuitry for the water supply system of the building should be wired ahead of the main electrical disconnect at the building. Then, if the electrical system at the building is shut off, there would still be a supply of water to the structure.
  15. For convenience and safety, use underground wiring to and within grain centers.

Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, Manhattan, Kansas.

The KSU Cooperative Extension Service provides practical, research-based information and educational programs to address critical issues facing individuals, families, farms, businesses and communities.

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