The prominent cause of grain bin deaths is suffocation – which is commonly the result of grain drowning. There is no way around it. Grain bins are a dangerous place, whether you’re an adult or a child.
An article in Corn & Soybean Digest says there is little chance of survival if you’re walking on the surface of the grains and you plunge into the flowing grain.
The number one safety rule from Corn & Soybean Digest is to keep children away from grain bins at all times. Grain flow can cover them before anyone knows what’s happening.
However, if the older teenagers on your farm are put to work, there are additional safety precautions to take before letting them near the grain bins. Make sure they understand all of them:
2. Lock out the control circuit before entering a bin, whether or not grain is flowing.
3. Have three people involved when you enter a grain bin, and enter with a rope and safety harness. In the case of an accident, it will take two people to lift you out using the equipment.
4. Don’t count on someone outside the bin to hear your shouted instructions. Equipment noise may block out your calls for help.
5. If you become trapped in a bin of flowing grain with nothing to hold onto but you are still able to walk, stay near the outside wall. Keep walking until the bin is empty or grain flow stops. If you are covered by flowing grain, cup your hands over your mouth, and take short breaths until help arrives.
6. If another person becomes submerged in grain, assume he is alive and begin rescue operations immediately. Turn on the fan to move air into the bin. Cut large holes around the bin, approximately 5 ft. up from the base, to empty grain.
7. Never attempt a rescue by going into the grain yourself. Call 911. Your local emergency team has the training and equipment to do the job safely.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor