Like many other agricultural industries that rely on heavy farm machinery, maintaining a good level of safety throughout the working day is best practice at all times. Safe grain storage and handling conditions should be met at all times, and throughout the process there are a few important steps to take to ensure no accidents occur on your site.
Maintaining your grain in good condition is a great way to avoid any issues as badly maintained grain can cause flowing grain, leading to a number of possible accidents including entrapment. Grain entrapments mostly occur when a worker has entered the grain storage bin to break apart crusty of mouldy grain, causing the worker to be trapped by a grain flow.
Avoiding Grain Entrapment
Grain entrapment can be easily avoided with good grain management and upkeep, and is better avoided through the use of a number of grain storage products manufactured to avoid grain mould and crust. Advantec produces a number of grain aerators that allow moisture from the bottom of the grain bin to escape through the top of the bin, leaving no moisture or dampness, allowing minimal risk of crop mould or crust.
You should only enter a bin unless it is absolutely necessary, and instruct all workers and family of the dangers of grain bins and their hazards. Usually, you should see a funnel shape on the surface of the bin which is an indicator of good grain flow. If the surface of the grain is level, then there may be a necessity to break up the grain to resume flow.
Only break up grain from outside the bin using a large pole, and keep working at it from the outside until the grain is at a safe level before you enter to continue your work.
Turn Off Your Machinery
Ensure that all grain augers and other machinery are turned off before you enter the grain bin, as any flowing grain will have the power to pull you under the grain. Ensure that you are using the proper, high quality personal protective equipment before you enter the grain bin, and always make sure that workers are supplied with the correct equipment and working knowledge of the gear before they even step in a grain bin.
On larger bins, using a body harness and safety line anchored outside the bin is necessary if prolonged work inside a bin is required. Always have someone else who is well practiced in grain storage bin safety on the outside of the bin, and maintain contact with them so both parties know what is taking place.
Many grain storage safety tips are common sense, but when put into practice can make a big difference is an accident occurs. Use the right tools for grain storage systems, use personal protection equipment and always have someone outside of the grain bin to help you out if there is an incident.