National statistics show that farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in America - this is especially true when farmers are working in and around grain. Grain handling is an extremely hazardous job - even for the most experienced and trained adults. That’s why we encourage all farmers to keep children (under the age of 18) away from grain-handling work sites.
Children working on the family farm is unavoidable. Many family operations depend on the older children in the family to help out on the farm. However, proper safety procedures need to be followed to insure the safety of those children—particularly when it comes to grain safety. Last year alone, the busy harvest season brought 8 or more grain-related tragic fatalities and close-calls across the US involving children. The statistics of children and grain handling accidents are heartbreaking. Nearly 1 in 5 entrapments involve youth 11-20 years old. Eighty percent of those entrapments end in death, and this does not include children younger than 11.
Grain bin accidents can happen in a blink of an eye. Flowing grain acts like quicksand—and it takes less than five seconds to become helplessly trapped. A child, or any adult for that matter, could find themselves in trouble very quickly and a adult alone cannot simply pull them out of the grain. One cubic foot of grain weighs 50 pounds. Therefore, a 165-pound person buried neck-deep would require 625 pounds of force to pull out.
Grain entrapment accidents are preventable when the proper safety procedures are followed. The Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC) is a great resource for families that have children working on the farm. They have many recommendations for youth working with or around grain. GHSC encourages all young people to stand T.A.L.L. (Talk. Ask. Learn. Live) to help keep themselves and others safe while working on the farm. Their goal is to empower young workers by helping them understand jobs or task and by encouraging them to ask questions if they do not understand the task.
These recommendations and more can be found here.