RF Meyer, Colorado State University Extension Agronomist
Katie Thimgan, Colorado Corn Safety Program Coordinator
Burlington, CO – Whenever possible, don’t enter a grain bin. If you must enter the bin, as a farm owner/operator you should:
- Break up crusted grain from the outside of the bin with a long pole. When using a pole, check to see that it doesn’t come into contact with electric lines.
- Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope.
- Stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow. Get to the bin ladder or safety rope as quickly as possible.
- Always have another person, preferably two people, outside the bin who can help if you become entrapped.
- Grain fines and dust may cause difficulty in breathing. Anyone working in a grain bin, especially for the purpose of cleaning the bin, should wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator.
- Always stay out of grain bins, wagons and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running.
- If it is necessary to enter the bin, remember to shut off the power to augers and fans. It is a good idea to lock out any unloading equipment before you enter a bin to prevent someone from unintentionally starting the equipment while you are in the bin.
- Children should never be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons or truck beds.
- Where possible, ladders should be installed inside grain bins to use for an emergency exit. Ladders are easier to locate inside a dusty bin if there are brightly painted stripes just above or behind the ladder.
- It only takes 25 seconds for a 6 ft., 180 lb. man submerged in grain from the neck down.
- It takes 625 pounds of force to remove a 180 lb. man submerged in grain from the neck down.
- If you become trapped in a bin of flowing grain with nothing to hold onto but you are still able to walk, stay near the outside wall. Keep walking until the bin is empty or grain flow stops. If you are covered by flowing grain, cup your hands over your mouth, and take short breaths until help arrives.
SOURCE: University of Illinois Extension, University of Minnesota Extension
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