Working Safely with Anhydrous Ammonia

By Kent McGuire – OSU CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator

Many farmers are applying anhydrous ammonia as a part of their spring planting season. Anyone working with anhydrous ammonia should be familiar with the safe use of the product, understand the potential for injury and know how to respond to an emergency. There are several hazards associated to working with anhydrous ammonia in the field. One hazard is that anhydrous ammonia is stored under high pressure. An unintended release can occur if the equipment is not well maintained, equipment becomes damaged, or workers are not trained to follow exact procedures. Additional hazards can be based on anhydrous ammonia’s chemical properties. Contact with skin can cause freezing of tissue or chemical burns. Severe irritation to eyes can take place since anhydrous ammonia seeks out water. And because of the strong odor, inhaling anhydrous ammonia can irritate the lungs and respiratory system. Some simple suggestions when working with anhydrous ammonia in the field include:

– Always have water readily available. This should include a squirt bottle of water with you and 5 gallons of emergency water mounted on the nurse tank.

– Personal protective equipment should include: long sleeve clothing, goggles, chemical gloves, and respirator with approved cartridge.

– Wear the proper personal protective equipment when connecting or disconnecting nurse tanks from the applicator or when making minor repairs or adjustments in the field.

– Ensure that a set of personal protective equipment is located in the cab of the tractor and in any vehicle used to transport nurse tanks. Continue reading

Farm Safety Check: Manure Gas

From the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center

Manure-Gas-Farm-Safety-Check-2020 Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, and extremely hazardous gas. It is produced by the breakdown of animal wastes or manure. It is heavier than air and can collect in both enclosed pits, open air lagoons and low-lying areas such as, ditches, or manholes. Knowing the risks that can occur with manure gas is important for those farms raising animals and for others who may visit your farm.

Take time to protect you, your family and others by incorporating basic principles into your manure management plan and check out additional resources listed below.


The checklist below lists a few ways you can be prepared in case of a farm emergency:

  • Does the storage area have protective fencing and locked gates to prevent anyone not authorized from entering the area?
  • Are warning signs posted around the storage area such as “Danger”, “No Smoking” and “Risk of Drowning”?
  • Is there an emergency plan in place with phone numbers and addresses posted?
  • Has everyone received training about the hazards that exist with manure storage, including the effects of various gases on animals and people, and what to do in an emergency?
  • Is Personal Protective Equipment (harnesses or breathing apparatuses) readily available?
  • Do you ventilate the pit prior to pumping, during pumping and while working near the pit?
  • Do you have a properly working gas monitoring system or device?
  • Do you have at least 2 people present when working near the manure lagoon or pit?

You and/or your employee(s) can download and print a pdf checklist to complete safety checks on your farm.  Keep the completed forms for follow-up, future reference and inspections.

Here is a link to the PDF version of the checklist.

At Home Screening of Film SILO Available During Virtual FSR

Join the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Program for an at home screening of the film SILO during the virtual 2020 Farm Science Review.

SILO is the First Ever Feature Film about a Grain Entrapment. Inspired by true events, SILO follows a harrowing day in an American farm town. Disaster strikes when teenager Cody Rose is entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin. When the corn turns to quicksand, family, neighbors and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations.

Register here for the Tuesday, September 22 screening at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Register here for the Wednesday, September 23 screening at 7:00 p.m. EST.

ODA’s Clean Sweep Program Set for August 19 in Findlay

ODA has selected three sites across Ohio for their annual Clean Sweep collection of agricultural pesticides in August. These locations are:

August 18: Fayette County 9 am – 3 pm

Fayette County Airport
2770 Old Rt 38 NE.
Washington Courthouse, Ohio 43160

August 19: Hancock County 9 am – 3 pm

Hancock County Fairgrounds
1017 E. Sandusky Street
Findlay, Ohio 45840

August 25: Lake County 9 am – 3 pm

Perry Coal and Feed
4204 Main Street
Perry, Ohio 44081

Unused, unwanted, and unlabeled pesticides pose many health and safety risks to you and those on your farm. Luckily, farmers in Putnam County don’t have to travel too far to dispose of these pesticides and pesticide containers this year. Between now and August 19, I encourage everyone to collect pesticides and pesticide containers that may be in your sheds, shops, chemical cabinets, etc. that you no longer use or plan to use. The disposal is free and there is no cost to you. Continue reading

Make Safety Your First Priority When Emptying Grain Bins

By Charles Schwab & Dirk Maier, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Following the wet and late harvest of 2019, several Midwest states are on the edge of a dangerous cliff when it comes to emptying their grain bins. Conditions are aligning to create the potential for tragic accidents and grain suffocation deaths to occur when grain bins start to be emptied.

It is common knowledge that quality harvested grain placed in storage, coupled with a best management practice of caring for grain, yields quality grain leaving storage for market. Inversely, either poor quality grain being placed in storage or poor management practices for caring for grain leads to spoiled grain leaving storage.grain facility system.

Getting spoiled grain out of storage always poses an increased safety risk for entrapment and suffocation to a farm operator and worker. There are years of documentation that illustrate the direct connection from spoiled grain leaving storage to a tragic grain entrapment and the resulting fatality. Continue reading

Managing Stored Grain

By:  Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension

Managing stored grain throughout the winter is an important part of your grain marketing plan for farm profitability. This winter we are already receiving reports of stored grain going out of condition, which can lower the value and be a hazard to those working around the grain facility. At a minimum, stored grain that has gone out of condition can cause health hazards, especially when grain dust contains mold and bacteria. Out of condition grain can also form a crust or stick to the bin walls and if someone enters the bin for any reason an entrapment could occur. For more information on safety when working around grain visit and listen to episode 41 of the podcast on grain bin safety.

Too many of us know the scare of a close call with grain entrapment but lived to tell the story. Even if it was just in a wagon or a truck while unloading wet grain, the fear is real. Unfortunately, it does not always stop us from entering a bin without the proper safety equipment. To help raise awareness of the dangers of working around stored grain, Champaign County will be showing a screening of the movie SILO on February 6 at 6pm at the Gloria Theater in Urbana. SILO is “inspired by true events, SILO follows a harrowing day in an American farm town. Disaster strikes when teenager Cody Rose is entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin. When the corn turns to quicksand, family, neighbors and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations.” RSVP at

Continue reading

What’s in your Grain Dust?

By Dr. S Dee Jepsen, State Leader of the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety & Health Program

As many farmers know, grain dust contains more than meets the eye. Moreover, the dust you inhale may also contain microbes, insects, and additional plant fodder. All of which are affected by temperature and humidity fluctuations. It is important to better understand what is in your grain dust, since many biological contaminants have been linked to health conditions like asthma and chronic bronchitis. That is why the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety & Health Program wants to sample your grain dust during a loud out period. See below for study details:

  1. We know your schedule is ever-changing, that’s why students will be available both weekdays/nights and weekends for sampling. A half day notice will suffice to allow for travel time
  2. Samples may be taken of multiple bins, storing different grains
  3. No preparation is needed for sampling!
  4. Sampling will not interfere with the load-out process.
  5. Measurements will only be taken during the unloading process.
  6. You will receive a dust analysis report ~1 week later showing the amount of Total Dust and Respirable Dust. Results are anonymous, and will not be shared with any other agencies.
  7. There is no fee for this service, and no incentives to participate, besides contributing to our understanding of dust level exposure. N-95 respirators are available upon request.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Dee Jepsen by phone at 614-292-6008 or by e-mail at