Last fall’s wet harvest and, in some cases, corn that didn’t reach maturity have caused a lot of grain storage problems this winter. Grain stored at 15 percent moisture or higher can lead to molding, and high drying temperatures can cause more kernel fractures. Both lead to grain crusting and bridging in bins.
Unfortunately, the number of grain entrapments and bin-related deaths has sharply increased. “If your job involves talking directly with growers, remind them to take extra care this spring as they haul grain to their local elevator,” says Chuck Kendall, global director, CHS Environmental, Health and Safety. “Gentle reminders are sometimes the most impactful.”
Here are the top things farmers and others can do to stay safe when working in and around grain bins:
- Follow proper entry procedures for confined spaces, including air monitoring, mechanical advantage systems, etc.
- Lock out/tag out all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment that presents a danger
- Maintain communications between an observer and the worker inside the bin
- Never move grain into or out of a bin while a worker is inside
- Do not enter a bin where grain could be bridged or is built up on the side of the bin
- Never walk down grain to make it flow.
Purdue University researchers report grain-bin related injuries such as entrapments, equipment entanglements and asphyxia are on the rise – more than 60 incidents occurred in the U.S. in 2018.