Grain Bin Safety

by | Nov 1, 2017

Grain bin safety

Grain bins are a recognized symbol as you drive through the countryside. After your crops have all been harvested, they’re taken to giant bins for storage. While the process seems simple enough, grain bins can quickly become death traps for farmers and laborers. If you’re walking on the crust of the grain and you get sucked under, your body can become completely covered within 10 seconds. Grain bin safety is easily overlooked during the busy harvest season but it’s not something to be taken lightly. Brush up on your grain bin safety precautions so you and your workers can have an accident-free harvest this year.

Look for hazards and make a plan

It’s important to make a thorough assessment of potential dangers inside the grain bin before you ever enter it. Once you’re aware of all the risks, you can make an emergency response plan for your farming operation. Everyone working on your farm during harvest should be trained in grain bin safety and how to respond in an emergency.

grain bins

Grain bin safety tips

Avoid entering the grain bin to stay safe during harvest season. Try using long poles to reach inside and break up crusted grain.

If you must go inside a grain bin, wear a harness that’s attached to a rope. Always use the buddy system and make sure at least two other people stay outside the bin to help in case of an emergency. It will take a lot of strength to pull someone out of the grain. One person is not enough during a grain bin rescue. Farm equipment is loud, which makes it almost impossible to hear calls for help from inside the bin. If you’re outside, stay alert and be ready for anything.

Stay near the outside wall and make sure safety ladders and ropes are in place. When installing ladders inside the grain bin, make sure to add bright, neon paint that will be easily visible through the dust.

Before you ever enter the bin, make sure the augers, dryers and other equipment are all turned off. Watch out for electrical wires and other potential hazards.

Keep children outside of grain bins. Grain flow happens fast and you don’t want them getting pulled under.

Anyone working in or around the grain bins should be using the right equipment. This includes dust filters or other another tools to help you breath easier in the dusty bins. Avoid wearing loose clothing and always wear work boots. Glasses or goggles may be a good idea to keep debris from flying into your eyes.

grain bins

Responding to grain bin emergencies

If another person is submerged in the grain bin, you have to act fast. Call 911 immediately. Your local fire department has the equipment and training to safely rescue the person inside the bin. In the meantime, use fans to create air flow and cut holes in the side to empty the grain. It’s important to make these cuts carefully to avoid a bin collapse or an explosion from the dust. Call 911 immediately

Watch for other grain bin dangers

In addition to getting pulled into the grain and suffocating, you have to be aware of other dangers. Sweep augers help move grain when the bin is nearly empty. This machine creates an additional hazard for people working inside a bin, as they can get caught in the moving parts.

Grain dryer fires are another potential danger. To prevent fires on your farm, create an emergency plan, keep an eye out for smoke and flames and keep up with regular maintenance on all of your equipment. Fires are most likely to happen when there are conditions of high humidity and wet grain, which may prompt farmers to rush the drying process.

In general, poor weather conditions lead to more accidents around harvest time as people try to adjust to adverse conditions. If this is the case, take extra precautions and make sure you’re following proper grain bin safety protocols.