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Warning - Grain Bins Present Confined Space Hazards
Posted on April 8, 2010 by SPear
Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. More than 700 farmers die in work-related accidents yearly.
Some of the most common accidents involve confined spaces inside grain bins. When grain bins are emptied, they can cause serious injuries to workers from crushing, to electrocution to suffocation.
The University of Illinois Extension offers the following safety suggestions when working in or near grain bins:
- Whenever possible, do not enter a grain bin.
- Break up crusted grain on the outside with a long pole, while making sure the pole does not come in contact with electric lines.
- Wear a safety harness attached to a properly secured rope.
- Stay near the outer wall and keep walking if the grain starts to flow, then get to a bin ladder or safety rope as soon as possible.
- Use confined space procedures [including posting confined space signs] and have someone who knows confined space rescue procedures outside the bin in case you are entrapped.
- Wear a dust filter - grain fines and dust can cause breathing difficulty.
- Use lockout procedures [including lockout tags] to shut off power to augers and fans when entering grain bins.
- Children should not be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons, or trucks.
- Ladders, brightly painted for easy identification, should be installed inside grain bins for emergency exit.
Seton offers a variety of products to help make grain bin work safer. From lockout tags that help prevent accidental power ups to confined space safety signs to remind workers of hazards to safety harnesses and dust masks to prevent injuries while working in the bins.
Source: Nathan Winter, Extension educator – agricultural productions systems, McLeod/Meeker County