WILLIAMSON CO. -- Farm Safety Week started Monday, and Ameren Illinois wants to make sure farmers stay safe as they get in and out of their fields with big, heavy equipment.
Farming provides a way of life for many in our region, but it comes with potentially hidden dangers. Power lines near fields pose hazards to farmers operating heavy equipment.
Kevin Young and others at Ameren hope to prevent potentially deadly incidents by keeping farmers aware of the dangers they face.
"Ameren's role is to get out in front of the farmers and just reiterate farm safety in terms of knowing where our utilities and facilities are so they don't come in contact with them," he said.
Young says it starts with what he calls the "circle of safety".
"Walk around your work area, make sure you have uncovered all the hazards," he explains. "Do your pre-trip routines, make sure you know the height of your equipment, make sure you know the proximity of our poles."
Most farm equipment will easily move under power lines, but guy wires that angle down to the ground can be just as dangerous.
"If they contact those, those present a challenge as well," Young said. "If you clip those, it could disrupt the integrity of the pole, it could snap the pole."
Many power poles will de-energize should they snap and fall, but Young says if one falls on a piece of equipment immediately call Ameren so they can check and see if the line is dead.
As more tractors and combines make their way in and out of fields, Young says above all else, stay prepared and alert.
"It's all in the set-up," he said. "If you know in advance, you have a better opportunity to be successful and not make contact."
Young says farmers who use the tile-ing process to control drainage be stay aware of underground electrical hazards.
If farmers want to tile their fields for drainage, Young stresses the importance of knowing underground electrical dangers. If farmers have any questions, Ameren urges them to call them at 1-800-755-5000.