Grain powers American agriculture. During Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week, March 25 through 29, we want to remind everyone working on farms and in grain-handling facilities to respect and understand the risks associated with working with grain.
“It’s important to continue to work with the industry, our
employees and our farmer-owners on the hazards in the grain industry, while
stressing safe practices and controls to ensure their safety,” says Matt
Surdick, manager, Country Operations Environment, Health and Safety, CHS.
Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week was organized by the National
Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA), the Grain Elevator and Processing Society, the American
Feed Industry Association and the Grain Handling Safety Coalition.
The groups remind us to remember five steps to grain safety:
Never walk down grain
Guard elevated work surfaces
Watch for moving equipment
Safeguard moving equipment
Lock out equipment
Moving or flowing grain acts like quicksand and can bury a
person in seconds. From the time an auger starts, a person has two to three
seconds to react. In four to five seconds, a person is trapped. In 22 seconds
or less, the person is completely covered by grain. Grain bin incidents often result
in multiple fatalities because coworkers improperly attempt rescue procedures and
become engulfed themselves.
“Following procedures, evaluating your surroundings, using
proper equipment and ensuring constant communication are keys to entering and
exiting a grain bin or silo safely,” Surdick says. “Do it the right way, every
Be aware of bridging grain, which occurs when grain clumps
together due to moisture or mold. These conditions can create an empty space
beneath the grain as it is unloaded, which means it can collapse unexpectedly
or under a person’s weight. Do not enter a bin when there is a bridging
condition, or if grain is built up on the side of the bin.
Always monitor the atmosphere inside bins for dangerous
changes. Make sure there two people are always present when working in bins and
maintain communications between the attendant outside the bin and the person
inside the bin.
Never move grain into or out of a bin while
someone is inside. Lockout/tagout all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic
equipment that presents a danger, particularly grain-moving equipment.
A bin of grain may seem harmless, but in just seconds, that
harmless grain can claim a life. Please be safe and share these messages with
anyone working with grain.