Nationwide Grain Bin Safety Week is February 21-27, 2021. Specialty Risk Insurance is partnering with Nationwide to donate two rescue tubes and safety training for two clients again this year.
In 2019, 39 people died in grain bin accidents, according to Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program. That’s up from 27 grain bin deaths in 2018. In 2017, there were 23 documented grain entrapment cases, 9 reported falls into or from grain storage structures, 2 asphyxiations due to deficient oxygen levels or toxic environments, and 8 equipment entanglements, such as those involving in floor and sweep augers, that occurred while working inside or around agricultural confined spaces. More than 70 percent of grain bin deaths occur on farms, rather than commercial facilities.
Entrapment is the most common grain bin hazard people think of and rightly so. It takes less than five seconds to become helplessly trapped in flowing grain and less than 30 seconds to become fully engulfed. Entrapment and engulfment are only pieces of the hazard puzzle when it comes to grain bins. Other, equally-hazardous situations include augers, bin collapses, Power Take-Offs (PTOs), fires and explosions, toxic atmospheres, electrical components and even ladders. Identifying and understanding bin hazards is vital to ensuring safety.
Have a year-round strategy for safely managing grain. Develop, implement and maintain a written program for your farm or business. Your program should include policies and procedures for grain-related hazards, safe way to enter, confined space and grain bin entry permit, hot works, grain storage maintenance, lockout tagout, and an emergency action plan. Having a good plan in place is only a piece of the safety puzzle. Effective communication and training should accompany any good program to fulfill your year-round grain bin safety strategy.