Farmers in Nebraska continue to produce more bushels with less resources. The result of this increased efficiency is more on-farm grain storage. In turn, this leaves a bigger risk of fatal accidents associated with grain handling and storage. Nebraska’s checkoff organizations of corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum (as well as their respective associations), encourage farmers to focus on hazards found in grain handling and storage environments during “Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week .”
“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week” takes place April 4 – 8 and is organized through an alliance 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.
Every year hundreds of employees are injured or die from preventable hazards while working in grain handling and storage. “Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week” encourages facilities and individuals to commit to safety in the workplace or how tasks are performed to create positive safety impacts.
There are many hazards that workers are exposed to when working in the grain handling industry. One of the biggest hazards includes suffocation from engulfment. However, with proper safety procedures, grain bin accidents are preventable. Here are a few grain bin safety tips to keep in mind when you are working with stored grain:
- Turn off and disconnect, lock out, or block-off all powered equipment, especially grain-moving equipment (like augers).
- Use a body harness with an anchored lifeline or boatswain chair when entering from a level at or above stored grain.
- Test the bin’s air to ensure there is enough oxygen and no toxic and/or flammable gas.
- Do not walk on or “down” the grain to make it flow.
- Do not enter onto or below bridged grain or when grain is built up on sides.
- Do not enter without having rescue equipment and a rescue-trained observer stationed outside who is in constant contact with you.
- Confirm from your employer’s issued entry permit that all safety precautions are in place and it is safe to enter.
Nebraska’s corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum checkoffs and their respective associations will be sharing grain bin safety tips from their social media channels. More information can also be found at https://standup4grainsafety.org.