December 11

Mitigating Installation Risk: Irrigation Systems

Irrigation systems supply agricultural fields with the water they need to keep crops healthy. The system is a very basic and simple concept; however, installation of irrigation systems can prove to be quite dangerous if the proper risks aren’t evaluated. Injuries incurred during an irrigation install can vary widely – from minor to fatal – so taking the proper precautions is absolutely necessary to help and prevent accidents from occurring.

The following should always be kept in mind during preparation, excavation, and installation:

  • Remain aware of the location and height of overhead electrical lines in the work area. Irrigation pipes are 30 to 40 feet long and overhead electrical lines could be as low as 18 feet and can easily be touched by the pipe or the crane lifting it.
  • Be wary of underground utilities like water, gas, or possibly underground electric. Contact all the required utility companies so they can mark the location of utilities before digging begins.
  • When digging trenches, use proper trenching and shoring techniques to avoid collapse.
  • When handling irrigation pipes, beware of crush injuries. Make sure everyone is on the same page when pipes are being connected and lowered into the trench.
  • Get training on the procedures and equipment that you will use. Know the emergency procedures and first aid in case there is an accident. Wear the proper clothing to protect you from the sun, insects, and heat and cold stress. Sturdy work gloves and footwear will protect your hands and feet. Use good ergonomics, proper lifting techniques, rest breaks, and task rotation to protect your back and avoid strains and sprains.

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The above guidelines represent efficient practices in mitigating risk on an irrigation installation job site. However, even with the most stringent precautions, accidents happen. In the event that an accident is to occur, whether it be injury or property damage, it is important to have an insurance program in place that is built from the ground up with the unique risks of irrigation contractors in mind.

For more information on irrigation insurance and risk management, visit IrrigationPro.

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