Grain bin safety is easy to ignore. However, it can take only a few seconds for a grain engulfment situation to become fatal.
Beginning on February 19, 2017 and running through February 25, 2017, Grain Bin Safety Week is designed to remind farmers and grain handlers to exercise caution when working in and around grain bins.
Farmers need to develop a written emergency plan, which can provide instructions on what to do in the event of a grain bin emergency. This plan should be accessible to anyone who works with grain in the operation. The plan should be practiced and tested several times throughout the year, so everyone is well-trained on what to do in case of an emergency.
Typically the biggest hazard is suffocation - either by being engulfed in flowing grain or overcome by toxic gasses. The following list can provide you with possible life saving strategies in the event of a grain bin emergency.
- Tip Number 1: Never enter a grain bin unless it’s absolutely necessary. If entering a bin is required, make sure secure lifelines such as a harnesses, ropes or ladders are available for everyone inside the bin.
- Tip Number 2: If you must enter the bin, check oxygen levels – a minimum of 19.5 percent is needed. Also, check for toxic gas levels, such as CO2.
- Tip Number 3: Lock out unloading equipment before you enter the bin, so it can’t be turned on by accident.
- Tip Number 4: Ensure adequate lighting inside the bin, so you can always monitor your surroundings.
- Tip Number 5: Always have a well-trained person outside of the bin, who knows how to respond in the event of an emergency. This individual should be prepared to act quickly and contact emergency responders if necessary.
- Tip Number 6: If something does go wrong and you find yourself sinking in grain, cross your arms in front of your chest to help you breathe as the weight of the grain presses against you.
Learn more about grain bin hazards and safe-work procedures by clicking here.