Top 10 Safety Precautions to Take Around Grain and Silage

Photo credit: UnitedSoybeanBoard / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: UnitedSoybeanBoard / Foter / CC BY

When it comes to the harvesting, transportation and storage of grain and silage, the process can be hazardous. Potential risks include machinery entanglement, falls from building and machinery, electrocution, and even suffocation. Here are 10 tips to keep you and your family safe around grain and silage.

1. Never enter a bin when unloading equipment is running.

2. Do not enter a bin with automatic unloading equipment, unless the control circuit is “locked out.”

3. Be especially cautious when working with grain that is in poor condition: molds, blocked flow, surface crusts over cavities, grain avalanches, and toxic gases are more common in poor-quality grain.

5. Do not rely on one person outside a grain bin to assist one person inside the bin. Be aware that machinery noise can interfere with communication between coworkers. Further, rescue of a worker inside the bin may require at least two workers outside the bin.

6. Do not work alone in heavy mold dust. Wear a respirator that can filter fine dust. Sensitivity to mold and dust increases with repeated exposure; acute reactions are possible.

7. Be cautious about steep piles of grain. Unstable grain may avalanche when dislodged or disturbed.

8. Keep children away from grain-hauling vehicles and equipment that is in operation.

9. Always use a rope and safety harness when entering a dangerous bin.

10. Beware of potential oxygen deficiency and accumulation of toxic gases and fumes in confined spaces. Ventilate confined spaces before entering and verify that air in the space is suitable for worker entry or use a suitable respirator.