Grain Elevator Safety Topics
In many parts of North America, agricultural harvesting is at its peak. With that activity, comes the increased risk of grain elevator accidents. Injuries and deaths related to the transportation and storage of crops is an all too frequent hazard during harvest season, this makes grain elevator safety a priority.
Although the incidence of entrapments, engulfments, and explosions has decreased in recent years, they continue to occur, and are preventable.
Engulfments & Entrapments
Engulfments and entrapments are most often caused when employees working in or near the bins to clean or clear clogs. After several years of the number of incidents decreasing, the number has begun trending upward over the last five years. Workers can become trapped in flowing grain in seconds, and more than half of these accidents result in death.
Ignition of Grain Dust
Explosions from the ignition of grain dust are serious and often result in injury or death to a larger number of workers than entrapment or engulfment. Grain dusts explosion can also cause fires that are difficult to extinguish. A recent explosion at a Nestle Purina grain elevator in Arizona injured four workers when welding work ignited grain dust resulting in an explosion that blew off the metal doors of the seven-story elevator.
Grain elevator and silo safety should be a priority for all farm and commercial handling facilities. Efforts need to include:
- Ensuring safe practices are established and followed
- Providing proper training to workers
- Enforcing the use of all necessary Personal Protective Equipment, such as fall protection/restraint systems and possible respirators
- Certifying all processing systems (such as ventilation and grain moving equipment) are properly maintained
Grain bins are confined spaces, and need to managed by a confined space entry permit program to ensure worker safety.
Employers should establish an emergency preparedness program that addresses rescue and first aid training. All workers need to understand what to do in case of an emergency, especially who to contact, and how to reach them.
Working to provide the public with food is important work, but it’s not worth your life.
We have complete OSHA compliant safety solutions for all your needs. Call (877) 769-9978 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts about grain elevator safety topics.