Safer Times: The Good Day's Work Blog

Grain Bins and Safety

Posted by Good Day's Work on Feb 9, 2016
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Grain bins are a necessary part of many agriculture operations. But they also present one of the most dangerous activities, as well. A worker in a grain bin can become engulfed in less than 3 seconds, unable to get free of flowing grain. They may become completely submerged in less than 6 seconds. That’s all the time it takes for a potentially fatal accident to occur.

Fortunately, there are several safety measures you can put into practice to significantly reduce the hazards of working inside grain bins.


Common Sense and Safety

  1. Keep children out of grain bins, wagons, and truck beds. They can become engulfed very quickly.
  2. Lock out the control circuit before entering. Power down the grain auger. Locking out the controls prevents anyone from restarting the equipment while you are working.
  3. Have three people involved when you enter a grain bin. Wear a safety harness and rope when working inside a bin, and have two people standing by outside to shut down equipment, call for help and assist in pulling you out quickly should you become engulfed.
  4. Use appropriate breathing apparatus. Grain bins are dusty. As a result, breathing can become difficult. Wear an appropriate filter or respirator while working inside one.
  5. Stay near the outside wall. Never walk in the middle of the bin or anywhere that the grain is flowing out of the bin.
  6. If someone else becomes submerged, turn off the equipment and call 911. Your emergency action plan will help emergency personnel effect a quick and efficient rescue.

Grain bins can be dangerous work locations and are considered Permit Required Confined Spaces by OSHA.  By being prepared and keeping a level head, many life-threatening incidents can be resolved quickly or avoided altogether.

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Topics: safety culture, grain bins

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