Ask the Expert: Grain Bin Safety
Agricultural production often comes with significant safety risks. One of the most common on-the-job hazards is working in or near grain bins. Once entrapped, workers can quickly become engulfed, leading to suffocation or entanglement.
It’s important to recognize that grain bin incidents can be prevented. This National Farm Safety and Health Week, our experts are sharing general safety tips to take before and during grain bin entries:
Treat grain bins as hazardous areas, with access available to authorized personnel with the required training only
Ensure rescue equipment is readily available, including ladders that are easily accessible during emergencies
Ventilate the bin, monitor oxygen levels, test for hazardous gases (e.g., pesticides), and equip employees with the appropriate respirators
Turn off, disconnect, lock-out and block-off all powered equipment, especially grain-moving equipment like augers and fans
Break up crusted grain from outside the bin to prevent grain avalanches and bridging
Confirm precautions are in place and it is safe to enter by using an entry permit system
Never enter on or below bridged and flowing grain
If walking at or above the stored grain level, use a harness with a lifeline or boatswain chair
Have rescue-trained observers nearby who will remain in constant contact with the worker inside
Need help developing a workplace safety plan? Contact CTEH at firstname.lastname@example.org.