Time to think about grain bin safety

Learn more about grain bin safety by following these tips and attending a grain safety meeting on Feb. 28 in Rosebush, Michigan.

Grain bins

The 2019 growing season was filled with challenges from beginning to end. Now that harvest is pretty well wrapped up, we need to turn our focus on the grain we have stored in on-farm grain bins. The 2019 corn crop had lots of quality issues, coming off the fields wet and with light test weights. In addition to the challenges of keeping lower quality grain in good condition during storage, this grain can cause considerable risk when farmers enter bins for inspection or during unloading.

Grain bin accidents from entrapment or engulfment are reminders that grain storage, especially from flowing grain, can be very dangerous. A major cause of grain entrapment and engulfment is the collapse of a horizontal crusted grain surface or collapse of a vertical crusted surface. In each case, following the proper safety precautions can prevent accidents that are often fatal.  

Follow these safety tips to prevent entrapment and engulfment:

  • Take necessary steps to prevent grain flow problems without entering the bin.
  • Do not work alone!
  • Do not enter a bin without having a trained crew and use the recommended safety equipment.
  • Shut down all power to equipment in the storage, drying and handling equipment.
  • Always have an observer positioned outside the bin.
  • Always wear an approved harness and well secured lifeline.
  • Have an emergency preparedness plan in place so everyone knows how to respond in the event something unexpected happens.

These are just a few considerations and tips for farmers with on-farm grain storage. Each farm should have a written safety plan in place for procedures before anyone enters a grain bin. This plan should be reviewed regularly with all employees and family members.

You can learn more about grain bin safety by attending a Grain Safety Meeting from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2020, at Superior Fertilizer, 3761 E. Weidman Rd, Rosebush, MI 48878, sponsored by Brown Milling Inc. and Michigan State University Extension. Lunch will be provided. To register or for any questions, contact Paul Gross at grossp@msu.edu or 989-317-4079, or Jeff Spiekerman of Superior Fertilizer at 989-433-2956.

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