This week is Grain Bin Safety Week as area farmers are reminded of the dangers associated with their drying operations. Pictured above, Marysville firefighters take part in a previous first responder training at Lee Farms in Marysville. (Photo submitted)
Editor’s note: The following information is supplied by Wayne Dellinger, Union County Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
This is Nationwide Insurance Grain Bin Safety Week, offering reminders of the dangers associated with the season when dry grains are being hauled to market and bins are being emptied.
Purdue University reports that there were 38 grain entrapments across the United States in 2019. Twenty-three of these entrapments resulted in a fatality.
In the ten-year period from 2009 to 2018, Ohio had nine fatalities in grain handling and grain storage facilities. Five of these fatalities were from suffocation, two were from falls and the others involved auger entanglements.
Entrapments or suffocation may occur in different ways. In flowing grain, the farmer may be drawn down into the funnel and become trapped. Grain may also crust or bridge on the top, leaving a void underneath. When this “bridged grain” collapses under the weight of the worker, they fall through and are covered in a matter of seconds.
Grain may also accumulate on the side of the bin. This is particularly noticed in bins with moldy grain. As workers try to dislodge the hanging material, they can be crushed like an avalanche.
Avoiding entrapment starts with having a plan. It is recommended that all work be performed outside the bin – this eliminates the risk of entrapment. If a worker must enter a storage bin, never enter alone. Always have a second person remaining outside the point of entry. Prior to entry, turn off any electrical equipment and lock it out so that it cannot re-start while workers are inside. Consider installing a ladder on the inside of the bin to facilitate an emergency exit.
For respiratory protection, an N95 mask is recommended as it will keep 95% of the grain dust from entering the nose and mouth. With limited availability of N95 masks at this time, a P-100 respirator may be used. With the high levels of vomitoxin and related molds this season, a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) cartridge respirator should be used.
It is also a good idea to keep local first responders involved with operations. They can be invited for a tour of operations and can discuss resources available and potential scenarios that may evolve. Also talk to fire and EMS units about their capabilities to respond to a grain bin emergency.
Owners may ask if rescue tubes are available (even through mutual aid) if needed for an entrapment situation and responders’ training can be vetted to determine if they know how to work together during an intense on-farm emergency.
Due to the hazardous nature of stored grain, always keep children away from storage bins, wagons, and trucks.
For additional information those interested may go to http://mynsightonline.com/grain-bin-safetyn for videos of real-life entrapment incidents and rescue training, along with numerous webinars and articles to assist training employees or refreshing veteran workers on the farm.
Those seeking more information can also call Wayne Dellinger at the Union County Extension Office at 937-644-8117 or email email@example.com.
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