Power Line Safety on the Farm

August 28, 2020

Harvest season is right around the corner as tractors, combines and tillage machinery come out of the barn and get ready to do their work. We at Stearns Electric want to remind the community to look up and look out for power lines.

“We know during harvest everyone is busy bringing in produce and grain,” said Matt O’Shea, Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “But we want you to be aware of your surroundings and remember to look up. Those power lines are energized, bringing electricity to your farm, family and business. If you do come in contact with a power line, stay in your vehicle or machinery and call 911 right away.”


  • Physical contact with a power line is extremely hazardous and may cause a lethal shock. Equipment should not be operated under a power line in a manner that would cause contact or near-contact with the wires.
  • Keep equipment, antennas and people at least 15 feet from power lines at all times, in all directions.
  • Inspect the height of farm equipment to determine clearance.
  • Always set extensions to the lowest setting when moving loads to prevent contact with overhead power lines.
  • Equipment that can be extended, such as a stack mower or grain elevator, requires the utmost care when near a power line. Look up and use care when moving any equipment, such as extending augers or raising the bed of grain trucks, around power lines.
  • Grain augers should always be positioned horizontally before being moved.
  • Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance.
  • Always use a spotter when operating large machinery near power lines.
  • If a power line is sagging or low, contact Stearns Electric Association.


  • Call 911 as soon as possible and keep the area clear until help arrives.
  • If you can do so without risking your machinery or damaging utility infrastructure, drive at least 40 feet away.
  • If you cannot drive away, be sure to stay in your cab or on your equipment and keep others away from the area until line crews de-energize the power line. The only exception to this is if your vehicle starts on fire.
  • If the vehicle is on fire then you must get to safety. Exit your equipment by crossing your arms over your chest and jumping clear so that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle to safety to avoid electric shock by breaking the current’s path.