The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) have partnered together for the 2024 Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week because everyone deserves to go home from work each day. The goal is to raise awareness among farmers and agricultural workers about the importance of safety when working in and around grain bins. This initiative also emphasizes the significance of overall safety practices on the farm.

As Nebraska farmers strive for innovation and higher yields, there has been a notable increase in on-farm storage. According to the USDA NASS report in 2023, there were over 890 million bushels of corn stored on Nebraska farms, an increase of 31% from 2022. Nebraska soybeans also saw a 39% increase over 2022 with 87 million bushels of soybeans stored on Nebraska farms.

An increase in on-farm storage means more risk for accidents associated with grain handling and bin storage. NCB and NSB encourage farmers and those in the agriculture industry to stay focused, planned and safe during “Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week” and throughout the year.

“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week” takes place from March 25 to 29 and is organized through a collaboration between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Grain and Feed Association, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society and the Grain Handling Safety Council.

In 2022, at least 42 grain bin entrapments were reported in Nebraska, the highest in a decade. It takes merely four seconds for an adult to sink to knee-deep in the suction of flowing grain, and within 20 seconds, they can be completely engulfed. NCB and NSB encourage those who work in and around grain bins to have a plan in place for safety and to properly learn safety steps. With proper safety procedures, grain bin accidents are preventable.

The only true way to help reduce the risk of grain entrapment on your farm or facility is to strongly discourage people from entering a bin unless it’s absolutely necessary. If necessary, follow these seven steps aimed at grain bin safety.

  1. Ensure all equipment and power sources for grain handling equipment have been shut off, secured or properly locked.
  2. The person entering the grain bin must wear a safety harness and lifeline attached and properly secured, or be seated in a boatswain chair – a device that allows a person to suspend from a rope to perform work in high places.
  3. Wear an appropriate dust mask or respirator when entering grain bins. Grain bins contain substantial amounts of dust and/or mold and present a hazard to workers.
  4. Never enter a grain bin alone.
  5. There must be an observer located outside of the grain bin that is able to monitor the person inside the bin.
  6. Ensure the observer and person in the bin can easily communicate.
  7. Ensure that rescue resources are available if the person does become entrapped.

If a person does become entrapped, call 911 immediately.

NCB and NSB will be sharing grain bin safety tips from their social media channels this week and throughout the year. More information can also be found at standup4grainsafety.org.

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