Spotlight on Safety by Joe Harwell | Facility Operator at Superior East AND Co-Chair of Aurora Cooperative’s Safety Committee
The hazards of flowing grain are not as obvious as many other hazards. Over 50% of flowing grain accidents over the past 50 years have resulted in a fatality. So the hazards are very serious. Victims have ranged from 2-78 years old.
Most people associate grain engulfment with grain bins; however, grain engulfment can happen in trucks, grain carts, and rail cars, as well as in bins, ground storage, and silage piles. Often people enter bins to loosen clumps or bridges because grain has gone out of condition. During harvest, people sitting on the edge of a truck, cart, or rail car have lost their lives after falling inside while grain was being unloaded.
Nebraska has had 9 grain-bin and grain-bin auger related fatalities from 2012 through March 2016. Both experienced and inexperienced workers underestimate the deadly risks associated with the speed and force of flowing or shifting grain.
EVERY flowing grain entrapment is preventable. To stay safe here are a few precautions – stay out of grain bins, wagons, and grain trucks when unloading grain. Never work alone in grain bins. Make sure all loading and unloading equipment is powered off and locked and tagged out. Never let children play around or in grain bins, wagons, or the bed of grain trucks.