Agricultural Electrical Hazards

The main electrical dangers in agriculture are electrical shock and electrical fires. Electrical shock is most common when equipment comes in contact with power lines. Electrical fires can be caused by faulty wires or equipment. Training, good design, and proper maintenance are the keys to safety.

Are you trying to keep your California farm safe and efficient? Are you trying to figure out if your agriculture operations have electrical risks that can be addressed? Keep reading to find out more about electrical hazards in the agriculture industry.

Access Electric will explain what the main hazards are and how to prevent electrical shock and fires on the farm. 

If you need more information about industrial electrical hazards, keep reading here.

Electrical Hazards in Agriculture

Agriculture presents many electrical hazards for people, animals, and property from electrical fires or shock. These dangers come from accidents like running into power lines with farm equipment or faulty wires and equipment that can cause electrical shocks and fires.

Agricultural Electrical Fire Risks

Electrical fires are usually caused by faulty wires or equipment. Wiring and tools need to be designed for the damp environments found in agriculture to prevent harm to people, animals, or property. Poorly designed electrical configurations, faulty wires, and damaged equipment increase fire risk.

Agricultural Electrical Shock Risks

The greatest danger for electrical shocks on a farm comes from equipment being driven into overhead power lines and shocking the operator. Electrical shocks can also come from wiring, power tools, extension cords, or machinery that are damaged or faulty.

Preventing Electrical Fires on the Farm

There are a number of design/configuration tips and maintenance practices that will help prevent electrical fires. The safest way to update or change wiring is to find an electrician familiar with agricultural electrical needs.

Overloaded circuitry and faulty wires cause electrical fires in agricultural settings. Be aware of the following tips for installing new wiring or updating worn-out wires.

  • Check your wiring frequently and immediately replace any damaged electrical conduit or wires.
  • Only use cable wiring that is rated for wet, damp, dry, or corrosive locations. 
  • Be mindful of conduit choices. Metal conduit is not suitable for moist and/or corrosive environments. Animals may chew on nonmetallic conduit.

Extension cords present another common electrical fire risk in agricultural settings. Practice the following guidelines about extension cords to stay as safe as possible.

  • Install proper outlets and wiring throughout the farm to reduce or eliminate the use of extension cords. Extension cords have short lifespans and do not replace permanent electrical installations.
  • Make sure that the area with the extension cord is dry. Do not use extension cords in wet areas to reduce the risk of fire or shock.
  • Inspect the extension cord for nicks, cuts, and melted or damaged insulation. 
  • Replace damaged extension cords. Do not try to fix them.
  • Carefully select the right extension cord for the job to prevent overheating and fires. Do not overload extension cords by using household-grade extension cords in agricultural settings. Only use heavy-duty extension cords.
  • Only purchase extension cords that have been certified by an independent laboratory recognized in the United States.
  • Place cords in routes where people will not trip over them, and machinery will not cut, nick, or run over the extension cord.
  • Avoid connecting extension cords together. Extension cords plugged together increase the risk of an electrical hazard by reducing the amperage rating.

Preventing Electrical Shock on the Farm

Electrical shock in agricultural settings happens most often to people when farm equipment is driven into power lines. Teaching employees how to stay safe is essential. Also, be careful about maintaining power tools, wiring, and extension cords to prevent electrical shock.

Follow the following guidance to prevent electrical shock due to improper use of power tools and/or extension cords.

  • Only purchase power tools and extension cords designed to prevent shocks, such as those rated by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). The Power Tool Institute (PTI) also includes a safety seal on certified tools.
  • Do not drop or throw power tools. Never carry tools by their power cords. Insulation and conductors within the tools can be damaged by abuse. 
  • Avoid overheating by taking breaks during continuous use to allow the tools to cool.
  • Do not use grounding adapters or “pigtails” when plugs are not compatible with outlets. Have an electrician install the outlets you need.
  • Use portable ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) when using power tools on the farm.
  • Only use tools and extension cords in dry areas. Do not use electricity in wet areas.
  • Consult an electrician about areas on the farm where GFCI outlets may be appropriate.
  • Inspect tools and extension cords for damage. Replace damaged extension cords, and do not try to fix them.
  • Inspect wiring, cables, and conduits throughout the farm for signs of corrosion or damage. Immediately replace damaged electrical components to prevent shocks or fires.

Find an Agricultural Electrical Contractor for Assistance

Agricultural electrical hazards are not only dangerous but can also cost a lot of money. Injured animals or damaged products or property lead to revenue loss. Contact an electrical contractor to fix up electrical hazards on the farm and protect your finances.

For your agricultural electrical needs in central California, contact Access Electric by calling (209)-577-1491. Access Electric services Modesto, Fresno, Stockton, and the surrounding areas.

Not only can Access Electric help you with your installation and maintenance needs, but we can also help you build your own microgrid. Read more about the renewable energy options available with your own microgrid.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common causes of electrical accidents in agriculture?

Electrical accidents in agriculture are typically caused by shocks or fires. Electrical shocks can happen on the farm when large equipment is driven into power lines or when electricity is used improperly. Poorly maintained wiring, tools, and machinery are at greater risk of causing shocks or fires.