Tips On Grain Handling Safety Can Save Lives

Preventative rules can help stay healthy around job site.

Published on: Feb 13, 2014

Colorado State University Extension Agronomist Ron Meyer in Burlington, Colo., has found a few good tips for his grain grower to stay healthy. Gleaned from information gathered by the universities of Illinois and Minnesota, he says passing this information on to Colorado growers can be important.

First among the tips is to never enter a grain bin unless it is necessary, but if you have to do so as a farmer or storage operator, here is a list of  valuable information:

•Break up crusted grain from the outside with a long pole. When using a pole, check to see that it does not come into contact with power lines.

•Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope.

Making sure grain is handled safely at the bin is as important to growers as proper harvesting.
Making sure grain is handled safely at the bin is as important to growers as proper harvesting.

•Stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow. Get to a bin ladder or safety rope as quickly as possible if this happens.

•Always have another person, preferably two people, outside of the bin who can help if you become entrapped.

•Grain fines and dust may cause difficulty breathing.  Those working in a grain bin – particularly when cleaning --- should wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator.

•Stay out of bins, wagons and trucks when unloading equipment is operational.

•If it is necessary to enter a bin, remember to shut down the power to augers and fans. It is wise to lock out any unloading equipment before entering the bin to prevent someone from stating the equipment while you are inside.

•Keep children away from grain bins, wagons and truck beds.

•Install ladders inside grain bins to use for an emergency exit. Ladders are easier to locate inside a dusty bin if they are painted brightly with strips just above.

•Remember,  it takes 625 pounds of force to remove a 180-pound person submerged in grain from the neck down.

If you become trapped in a bin of flowing grain with nothing to hold onto but are still able to walk, stay near the outside wall. Keep walking until the bin is empty or grain  flow stops. If you are covered by flowing grain, cup your hands over your mouth and take short breaths until help arrives.