Grain Bin Safety

Grain Bin Safety

It can take as little as 3 to 4 seconds to become entrapped in flowing grain. An average person can become completely submerged in about 25 seconds. Grain's properties make it difficult to get out of without assistance. Because of this, incidents can result in multiple fatalities when others attempt rescuing someone stuck in grain. Consider the following safety tips when working with grain bins.


Entrapment scenarios

  • Standing on moving/flowing grain can sweep you off your feet and bury you in seconds. 
  • Working around a bridging condition. Bridging happens when grain clumps together, usally from moisture or mold, and an empty space is created beneath the crust. Standing on or below the bridged grain can result in the bridge collapsing and burying you.
  • Standing next to an accumulated pile of grain. A large enough grain pile can collapse and engulf you completely.

Zero entry

The best method to prevent grain bin accidents is to strongly discourage anyone from entering the grain bin unless absolutely neccesary. Develop a "zero entry mentality" by focusing on these three areas to help keep you, and everyone else on your farm, safe.

  • Practice better grain quality management and monitor your grain condition closely. Most entrapment incidents develop around some sort of grain spoilage issue. By preventing spoilage, you are elminating the leading cause of grain bin entry.
  • Install a reclaim system sized appropriatley for the size of bin and commodity involved. Install large sump discharge holds in close proximity to each other on the bin floor. Consider adding intermediate holes with 24 in x 24 in (minimum) openings every 8 to 10 feet. Center holes for 90 ft or larger bins should be either 36 in x 36 in or 48 in x 48 in. Make sure all holes are guarded properly to avoid injuries.
  • Provide large service tunnels, 7 ft x 7 ft (minimum), in larger commercial facilities. Install large outside access doors with a 3 ft x 3 ft platform under them with hand rails.

Grain bin safety week runs from February 20th - 26th this year and is focused on raising awareness to the dangers of working in and around grain bins.