ASAP Day 5 – Grain Bin Safety
Today is the fifth day of Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) Week and although there are many topics of concern when it comes to safety in agriculture, Tyree Ag is focusing on one area each day during the week. Today’s topic is grain bin safety. Grain entrapment is one of the least understood hazards in today’s family farm operations. The following information and tips was obtained from the Farm Bureau ASAP Week webpage.
***The most common remark from grain bin incident survivors is that they never anticipated the tremendous force of grain!
“Be cautious around grain and grain storage structures on the farm. It takes just seconds for a person to be pulled in and under a flowing mass of grain, leading to suffocation. Unloading grain creates a similar pull to quick sand.
Children should never play climb on or in grain storage structures. Working with grain can be dangerous even for the most experienced farmer. Make sure you and your children know the risks and act accordingly.”
Click here to watch a video from Grain Bin Safety Week.
According to the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, there are six “fast facts” that are important information about grain safety.
Fast Fact #1 – Entrapment
The majority of engulfments occur when unloading equipment is running. ALWAYS LOTO (Lock out/Tag out) unloading equipment and other energy sources before entering a bin.
Fast Fact #2 – Entanglement
Entanglement in PTO’s, augers, and other moving equipment is one of the leading causes of injury and death. Proper guarding is a MUST to prevention of injuries. Don’t remove guards, keep them in good repair, guard all moving parts.
Fast Fact #3 – Bin Entry
Entering a grain bin or silo? Follow these rules:
- LOTO! All unloading equipment and other energy sources.
- Check oxygen levels.
- Get training before entering a bin.
- Never be alone. Always have an observer to assist in an emergency.
- Use a harness and lifeline.
- Always stay above the grain.
- Entering a bin should be a last result. Use alternatives first when possible.
Fast Fact #4 – Out of Condition Grain
Out of condition grain poses one of the greatest risks for entrapment/engulfment. Crusted grain signals DANGER! You should normally sink about 12” (ankle deep) when walking on corn. If you aren’t sinking – GET OUT! There is a high potential to break through the crust and become entrapped or engulfed.
Fast Fact #5 – Flowing Grain
Flowing grain is the MOST DANGEROUS. It acts like quicksand. It continually flows to fill in holes. The flow creates a suction to pull you under.
Fast Fact #6 – Speed Factor
The faster grain flows the faster you become submerged. Grain only needs to remove the body volume of a person to completely cover you. The average body volume is 5-7 cubic feet. It can take as little as 5 seconds to become totally engulfed. An average 10 inch auger unloading at a rate of 4,086 bushels per hour will completely engulf a person in just under 60 seconds.
Click here to watch a video on grain bin safety from the National Corn Growers.
The following are a few rules you may want to implement to prevent your operation from becoming a tragic statistic due to grain incidents.
- Always lock all access doors to grain storage structures.
- Lock out power to all types of grain-handling equipment.
- Use the buddy system when you are unloading or loading grain, notifying a second person where you are.
- Never permit children to ride in grain wagons or enter grain storage areas.
Although it may seem like it's just common sense to not have a grain bin incident, it can happen in the blink of an eye and then you THINK it won't happen to you. Please take the time to inform your families, employees, and employers about grain bin safety!