Every year, over nine hundred grain bin fatalities occur in the U.S. with grain bin entrapment being one of the main causes of death. The Department of Labor has recently reported that it can take just five seconds for a worker to become trapped and engulfed in flowing grain, and only 60 seconds to become completely submerged and suffocate.
Thankfully, workers can reduce their chances of being injured or dying in a grain silo by following the safety procedures put in place. If you work in a grain silo, then here are some important safety tips:
1. If Trapped, Remain Near the Edge of the Silo
It is often hard to stay safe when dealing with bulk material. Today’s large grain silos can transfer up to four times as much grain as silos in the past. Thanks to this, you can become totally submerged in just 8 seconds, leaving you helpless.
If you find yourself trapped in a grain silo, with nothing to grab onto, but you can still move about and walk, then make sure you move to the edge of the silo wall. Once you are here, you will need to continue walking until the grain flow stops or the bin is empty. However, if you find yourself covered in flowing grain, and you cannot move, then stay where you are, cup your hands over your mouth, and take little breaths until someone arrives to rescue you.
2. Lock Out the Control Circuit
Always lock out the control circuit before you enter a bin. Turning off the circuit will ensure that no grain can flow into or out of the silo while you are inside. This will help you to stay safe while working in a grain silo.
3. Do not Attempt to Rescue Other People
If you notice that one of your colleagues is missing or you realize that they are trapped inside a grain silo, then call 911 for help. Although it may be possible to rescue the individual yourself, by going into the grain silo you are putting yourself at risk. It is much better to contact your local emergency team who have all of the right training and equipment to do the job safely.
4. Always Have a Person on Stand-By Outside of the Silo
One of the best tips we can give you is to make sure that you are not on your own when working in a silo. Always ask somebody to stay close by so that they can call for help should you need it.
5. Make Sure You Have the Right Training
No one should enter a grain silo unless they have been given adequate training in first-aid, fire suppression, rescue, and personal protection. All of these things will help to keep you and your colleagues safe in an emergency.
Working in grain silos can be dangerous. However, the good news is that workers can considerably reduce their chances of being injured or dying inside a grain silo by following the safety tips we have listed above. Remember, ignoring the safety tips given above could cost you your life.