University of Illinois Extension

Farm Electrical Safety

Many 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.

While 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:

Electrical Panels

Outlets

Extension Cords

Outside Hazards

These 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.

U of I ACES U of I Extension