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Grain Bin Safety Tips

Jan 29, 2020

A tough fall resulted in corn getting stored before it was all the dry. That paired with mild temperatures can make for a dangerous situation in grain bins. Here are some grain bin safety tips from the University of Illinois to keep in mind:
 
  • Break up crusted grain from the outside of the bin with a long pole. When using a pole, check to see that it doesn't come into contact with electric lines.
  • Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope.
  • Stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow. Get to the bin ladder or safety rope as quickly as possible.
  • Have another person, preferably two people, outside the bin who can help if you become entrapped. These people should be trained in rescue procedures and should know and follow safety procedures for entering the confined space.
  • Grain fines and dust may cause difficulty in breathing. Anyone working in a grain bin, especially for the purpose of cleaning the bin, should wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator.
  • Stay out of grain bins, wagons and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running.
  • If it is necessary to enter the bin, remember to shut off the power to augers and fans. It is a good idea to lock out any unloading equipment before you enter a bin to prevent someone from unintentionally starting the equipment while you are in the bin.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons or truck beds.
  • Where possible, ladders should be installed inside grain bins to for an emergency exit. Ladders are easier to locate inside a dusty bin if there are brightly painted stripes just above or behind the ladder.

Here is a checklist of things you should look for and try to fix to stay safe:
 
  • Has equipment been powered off at main disconnect and locked and tagged? 
  • If there is potential for combustible gas, vapors or toxic agents, has the oxygen level been tested with a gas monitor?
  • Is a rope and harness available for anyone entering a grain bin?
  • If a worker enters, is an observer present and in communication?
  • Is the observer trained and able to initiate rescue?
  • Is rescue equipment provided and specifically suited for entry?
  • Are there NIOSH approved masks or respirators available?
  • Are grain and feed bins clearly labeled to warn of the hazards of flowing grain or feed?
  • Do all bins have permanent ladders inside and outside?
  • Are hearing protectors available for wearing around noisy equipment?
  • Are equipment guards and shields in place and in good condition?


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