Practice Safety with Stored Grain
This video, Following Proper Grain Bin Entry Procedures Saves Lives, was produced by the U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers.
March 14, 2014
As temperatures warm and you begin moving more grain, remember wet, stored grain increases grain-handling hazards. Within a few seconds grain can engulf a person entering the grain bin during unloading. Before entering a bin, stop the auger and always use the "lock-out/tag-out" procedure to secure it.
A person can be buried instantly if bridging has occurred, grain is attached to the bin wall, or a column collapses. See the North Dakota State University extension publication, "Caught in the Grain!" for information on the dangers of grain entrapment, preventative steps, and rescue procedures. In this illustrated guide NDSU agricultural engineer Kenneth Hellevang explains how a person can become helpless in flowing grain in as little as 4 seconds and can be buried in 20 seconds.
When moving or storing grain, also be aware of the hazards of grain dust and mold and wear appropriate respiratory equipment. Low-level exposure to dust and mold can cause symptoms such as wheezing, a sore throat, nasal or eye irrigation, and congestion. Higher concentrations can cause allergic reactions, and trigger asthma episodes and other problems. In rare cases, symptoms such as headaches, aches and pains, and fever may develop. Certain types of molds can produce mycotoxins, which increase the potential for health hazards from exposure to mold spores.
The type of respiratory protection a person needs will depend on the amount of his or her exposure to dust and mold. The minimum protection should be an N-95-rated face mask. This mask has two straps to hold it firmly to the face and a metal strip over the nose to create a tight seal. Some masks have a valve that makes breathing easier for people who wear them for extended periods. A nuisance-dust mask with a single strap will not provide the needed protection because the mold spores will pass through the mask.
For information on selecting the right mask for the job, see this CropWatch article and online videos from the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health.
For more information and videos see the Grain Handling Safety Coalition website.
Extension Educator, Dakota, Dixon, and Thurston Counties