Work Safely Around Grain

Source:Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension Agricultural Engineer (Edited)

OK, so maybe it’s too wet to be in the field. While we are waiting on a little bit of cooperation from Mother Nature, we may be keeping busy doing other things  like hauling grain.  As you empty your bins keep these safety tips in mind!

Make sure everyone working around stored grain understands the hazards and proper safety procedures.

Using appropriate safety practices when working around grain is vital.

“Make sure everyone, including family and employees, working around stored grain understands the hazards and proper safety procedures,” North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer Ken Hellevang says.

“Too many people ignore safety practices and suffer severe injury or death while working around grain,” he adds. “They get trapped in grain, tangled in auger flighting, or develop respiratory problems from exposure to grain dust and mold particles.”

Grain Bin Dangers

Never enter a bin while unloading grain or to break up a grain bridge. Flowing grain will pull you into the grain mass, burying you within seconds.

Stop the grain-conveying equipment and use the “lock-out/tag-out” procedures to secure it before entering the bin. Use a key-type padlock to lock the conveyor switch in the “off” position to assure that the equipment does not start automatically or someone does not start it accidentally.

Bridging occurs when grain is high in moisture content, moldy or in poor condition. The kernels stick together and form a crust. A cavity will form under the crust when grain is removed from the bin. The crust isn’t strong enough to support a person’s weight, so anyone who walks on it will fall into the cavity and be buried under several feet of grain.

“To determine if the grain is bridged, look for a funnel shape on the surface of the grain mass after some grain has been removed,” Hellevang advises. “If the grain surface appears undisturbed, the grain has bridged and a cavity has formed under the surface.”

Stay outside the bin and use a pole or other object to break the bridge loose.

If the grain flow stops when you’re removing it from the bin but the grain surface has a funnel shape and shows some evidence that grain has been flowing into the auger, a chunk of spoiled grain probably is blocking the flow. Entering the bin to break up the blockage will expose you to being buried in grain and tangled in the auger.

If grain has formed a vertical wall, try to break it up from the top of the bin with a long pole on a rope or through a door with a long pole. A wall of grain can collapse, or avalanche, without warning, knocking you over and burying you.

Follow recommended storage management procedures to minimize the potential for crusting or bridging and chunks of grain blocking unloading.

Also, never enter a grain bin alone. Have at least two people at the bin to assist in case of problems. Use a safety harness when entering a bin.

Rescuing a Trapped Person

If someone gets trapped:

  • Shut off all grain-moving equipment.
  • Contact your local emergency rescue service or fire department.
  • Ventilate the bin using the fan.
  • Form a retaining wall around the person using a rescue tube or plywood, sheet metal or other material to keep grain from flowing toward the person, then remove grain from around the individual. Walking on the grain pushes more grain onto the trapped person.
  • Don’t try to pull a person out of grain. The grain exerts tremendous forces, so trying to pull someone out could damage the person’s spinal column or cause other damage.
  • Cut holes in the bin sides to remove grain if the person is submerged. Use a cutting torch, metal-cutting power saw or air chisel to cut at least two V- or U-shaped holes on opposite sides or more holes equally spaced around the bin. Grain flowing from just one hole may injure the trapped person and cause the bin to collapse.

Dust, Mold Pose Health Hazards

Even low-level exposure to dust and mold can cause symptoms such as wheezing, a sore throat, congestion, and nasal or eye irritation.

Higher concentrations can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma episodes and other problems. Typical symptoms include shortness of breath; burning eyes; blurry vision; light sensitivity; a dry, hacking cough; and skin irritation. People may experience one or a combination of these symptoms.

In rare cases, severe symptoms, such as headaches, aches and pains, and/or fever, may develop. People’s sensitivity varies based on the amount and type of mold. In addition, certain types of molds can produce mycotoxins, which increase the potential for health hazards from exposure to mold spores.

The minimum protection for anyone working around moldy grain should be an N-95-rated facemask, according to Hellevang. This mask has two straps to hold it firmly to the face and a metal strip over the nose to create a tight seal. A nuisance-dust mask with a single strap will not provide adequate protection, he says.

Other Dangers

Getting tangled in the unloading sweep auger is another major hazard. Entanglement typically results in lost feet, hands, arms, legs and frequently death due to the severe damage.

Although you shouldn’t enter a bin with an energized sweep auger, it may be necessary in some instances, Hellevang says. All sweep augers should have guards that protect against contact with moving parts at the top and back. The only unguarded portion of the sweep auger should be the front point of operation.

If someone must go into the bin, make sure to have a rescue-trained and equipped observer positioned outside the storage bin. Use a safety switch that will allow the auger to operate only while the worker is in contact with the switch.

Never use your hands or legs to manipulate the sweep auger while it’s in operation. The auger should have a bin stop device that prevents the sweep auger from making uncontrolled rotations.

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Farm Safety

Safety on the farm is not something that should be taken lightly. The average person reacts to a potential hazard in 0.2-0.3 seconds.  #eFields18 includes a special report on farm safety and shares the severity of injuries that could occur in that fraction of a second before reacting. The inclusion of farm safety in this year’s report was made possible by Kent McGuire and the OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program.

View the eFields “Safety on the Farm” report on page 20 here:go.osu.edu/eFields18
Learn more about the Ag Safety and Health Program here: agsafety.osu.edu

Safe Driving During Harvest Season

By: Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

As tractors, combines, and grain trucks begin to appear on Ohio roads, roadway safety becomes a focus for all who share the road with farm machinery.

Vehicle collisions can happen at any time. Many are a result of speed differential between slower-moving farm equipment and passenger vehicles, where the motoring public doesn’t slow down in time before colliding with machinery. Other collisions are a result of cars and trucks passing farm implements without a clear distance of on-coming traffic. Following safe road practices, farm operators can do their part to be seen with enhanced visibility. And while SMV operators are not required to move out of the way for passing traffic, they may choose to do so when enough berm is available. Other steps for enhanced visibility are listed below.

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Hunters on the land? Recreational User’s Statute protects landowners from liability

Source: Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

A question we often hear from landowners is “will I be liable if a hunter is injured on my property?”  Ohio’s Recreational User’s Statute is an excellent risk management tool for farmers who so often have hunters stopping by and asking for permission to hunt on the farm.  The law provides immunity for landowners of non-residential land who allow people to engage in recreational activities on the land without charging a fee for the activity.  The law states that by granting permission, the landowner is not extending any assurance to a recreational user that the premises are safe for entry or use.

To receive the law’s liability protection, it’s important for a landowner to meet the following requirements:

  1.   Grant permission to a person to engage in a recreational activity such as hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, or other recreational activities.
  2.   Don’t charge a fee or benefit for the use, except that the law does allow a lease payment fee.

Read more about the law in our new bulletin,  The Who, What, When, and Where of Ohio’s Recreational User Statute: What Landowners Need to Know.   The bulletin is available here.

Last reminder – FSR Agronomy College is September 11th

The Farm Science Review Agronomy College is held in partnership between the Ohio AgriBusiness Association & OSU Extension. The event is designed to educate agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers, custom applicators and farmers on current agronomic crop issues.

Topics we think you will be interested in:

  • Updates to the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations
  • Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index update and on-line tool demonstration
  • Got Weeds, Insects, Diseases? It’s been a great year for pests.
  • Want ideas to try on Variable Rate Soybeans?

Date: September 11, 2018

Location: Farm Science Review – Molly Caren Agricultural Center, London, OH

Time: Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.; sessions begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $120 Registration: Click here to register for the event. (or try this link:http://oaba.net/aws/OABA/pt/sd/calendar/67757/_PARENT/layout_details/false)

Contact: Janice Welsheimer at 614-326-7520 or by email: jwelsheimer@oaba.net, or for additional information, contact Harold Watters at 937-604-2415 or by email: watters.35@osu.edu.

An Important Piece of Fire Prevention on the Farm

Originally posted in the Ohio AgriAbility Newsletter- Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

Do you have fire extinguishers located on your farm property?

Fire extinguishers can often be one of those out of sight out of mind tools. Or alternatively, extinguishers can be so frequently passed by that the location no longer registers. Stop and take a mental inventory of where the fire extinguishers on your farm are located.

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Hay and Straw Barn Fires a Real Danger

Orginally posted in the Ohio AgriAbility Newsletter- Jason Hartschuh, Mark Sulc, Sarah Noggle and David Dugan,Ohio State University Extension Guest Contributors

We’ve heard of one barn fire here in Ohio this morning and a lot of hay was put up last Thursday ahead of the rain. Much of the hay was wetter than it should have been for safe dry hay storage. Watch those moist bales very carefully for the next two to three weeks! Use a hay temperature probe and monitor the internal temperature of the hay during these first three weeks after baling.

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Who Can Work on Your Farm

Originally posted at Agriculture Safety and Health Programs,  by:Emily G. Adams –  Ohio State University Extension Educator, Coshocton County, Ohio

It won’t be long until hay season will be upon us. For some farms that means more labor than usual is required to get all the jobs done. That labor may include your own children or grandchildren. Today we’ll take a look at what the law allows and also consider what types of jobs kids are capable of handling from a developmental standpoint.

One great reference to guide these considerations are “Youth on the Farm: What Type of Farm Work Can They Perform” by Peggy Hall and Catherine Daniels in the OSU Agricultural and Resource Law Program. Another very helpful publication is Penn State Extension’s “Children and Safety on the Farm.”

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Hitching / Unhitching Safety with Equipment

Originally posted in Ag. Safety S.T.A.T- The Ohio State University 

By:Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

One of the most common tasks on the farm is hitching or unhitching equipment. The two most common tractor-hitching methods use the drawbar or the 3-point hitch assembly. In either case, there can be multiple elements involved in the process including: connecting the implement using a hitch pin, adjusting a jack stand, attaching safety chains, connecting the PTO shaft, connecting hydraulic couplings, or plugging in electrical connections.

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