Beware grain engulfment dangers in storage silos

It's every farmer's nightmare scenario -- getting trapped in a grain storage silo and becoming engulfed in a shower of tons of grain. Accordingly, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association are encouraging farmers and their workers to exercise extreme caution when handling and moving grain for storage.

The rates of deaths from grain engulfment have risen precipitously in recent years. In response, the head of NeCGA stated, "[I]t is increasingly important to promote grain bin safety awareness and remind all grain handlers of the hazards of working around grain."

Farming may be the all-American occupation, but statistically speaking, it is also one of the most hazardous occupations of all. Over the last half century, over 900 incidents involving grain engulfment were reported. Of those, the mortality rate is 62 percent.

Consider that a 6' man using a 10" auger can be buried under the deadly weight of grain in only 25 seconds. Often there's not even time to shout out for help.

Follow these tips for grain bin when workers are moving and storing grain:

-- Workers should only go into grain bins when it's a necessity. Then they should be harnessed to the outer wall of the bin with no fewer than two other workers observing at all times.

-- Inspection holes and grain level markers can help workers know the conditions inside of a grain storage bin. Grain bridges should only be broken up with poles wielded from outside.

-- Workers should learn to communicate with hand signals when working around storage bins for grain.

Every farmer has a duty to make sure that his farm is run safely for the workers he employs. If you are harmed in a grain engulfment accident, you may have a cause of action to pursue a civil claim for compensation.

Source: American Agriculturist, "Grain entrapment deaths a record in 2014," accessed July 08, 2016

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