Minimize out-of-condition grain.
Crusty grain clogs and stops unloading, which often prompts farmers to enter, poke and even walk across hardened layers. This is one of the most likely scenarios in which entrapment could occur.
Keep It DryPrevention “starts in the field and in how you dry it,” Wettschurach says. Moisture at 15% or less prevents out-of-condition grain. Temperature and/or moisture monitoring cable systems are helpful. For bins equipped with center unloading augers, coring out the center helps minimize accumulation of moisture-storing debris.
Rescuing entrapment victims.
“It’s never good to try to pull out somebody when they’re buried,” Wettschurach says. “There’s too much pressure on the legs, arms and waist.” If the person is buried to chest or neck, “get the grain away from their chest as fast as possible,” says Decker. Cutting holes on the bin sides to remove grain is effective, but devices that remove grain immediately surrounding the person are more efficient. Utilize a rescue tube (four aluminum vertical pieces) “to form a complete circle around your victim, shoving each individual panel down in the grain around the victim,” Decker says. Then remove that grain inside the tube around the victim by shop vac, hard hat, coffee can—whatever is available.
Prevent dust explosions.
Accumulated dust in bins can lead to catastrophe. Even a single spark can set off an explosion. Monitors can sound the alarm when dust accumulates to dangerous levels. A more low-tech method of checking for dust is when visibility in the bin is reduced to only 3 to 5 feet. Use fans to minimize the accumulation and the danger.
Change your attitude.
“I get told by farmers all the time,” says Decker, “‘I’ve done it this way for 20 years and I’ve never had an issue.’” Remember, he says, “Every day you go into that grain bin, you’re risking your life.”
To learn more about how to keep you, your family and employees safe in and around grain bins, visit the website of GSI, one of Challenger’s sister companies. http://www.grainsystems.com/safety/safetyhome.php