Grain Bin Safety. Because we care.
There are times when workers must enter such confined spaces as grain bins or silos. Properly trained and prepared workers and adequate maintenance of safety equipment are essential to worker safety. A few safety recommendations compiled from resources in the reference list include:
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.
4. Always be cautious around surface crusts; the crust can collapse, and you can become entrapped in the 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 co-workers; 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; verify that air in the space is suitable for worker entry or use a suitable respirator.
11. Use only appropriately rated electrical equipment. Fuses, insulation, wiring, etc., must be properly sized and protected.
12. Reduce fire and explosion hazards through equipment maintenance, ventilation (if appropriate), and refraining from smoking near flammable dusts, gases, and fumes.