SaskPower is encouraging farmers to make safety a priority this harvest season.
This year, SaskPower has observed 187 incidents involving farm equipment as of August 8, which is up from 169 on the same day last year.
They say it's likely due to seeding and harvest beginning earlier. 2022 had a total of 248 farm-related incidents.
“The most important thing to do before operating large equipment around power lines is to have a plan,” said Nidal Dabghi, Director of Safety at SaskPower. “Plan your route ahead of time, make sure you’re aware of where power lines are, and take routine breaks to avoid fatigue. Taking these small steps will help everyone come home safe.”
Farm-related line contacts routinely increase in all areas of the province during the seeding and harvest seasons.
Besides planning a route before starting work, SaskPower also recommends using a spotter on the ground, lowering equipment when moving from field to field, and using the Look Up and Live map found on saskpower.com.
Above all, SaskPower reminds farmers to remain alert and aware of nearby power lines. In the event of a line contact, operators should remain in the vehicle and call the SaskPower Outage Centre at 310- 2220, if safe to do so.
Operators should only leave the vehicle in the event of a fire or emergency, using the safe exit procedure:
- Swing the vehicle door wide open, being sure to not touch the outside of the vehicle.
- Make sure no wires are in your way. • Stand in the doorway of the vehicle, cross your arms in front of your chest, and put your feet together.
- Jump as far from the vehicle as possible, making sure you don’t touch the outside of the vehicle. Land with your feet together.
- With your arms still crossed and feet together, hop away from the vehicle (at least 10 metres).
- Call 911 immediately.
Under no circumstances should you return to your vehicle until SaskPower has confirmed the area is safe.