Safety Consideration When Operating a Grain Storage Bin

The grain bin management looks simple, but it is complex in reality. Grain bins are the massive structures filled with grains, the potential hazards of engulfment, suffocation, etc can cause a fatal impact on the person’s health. There are several accidents recorded at the entry of grain storage, many cases resulted in serious suffocation, respiratory damage, etc and many of them were reported of the operator’s death. Although it is a difficult task to manage grain bin, it is essential to do it for preventing spoilage or moldy grains. This is why, considering the hazards of grain bin management, organizations like OSHA have set safety precautions and guidelines for grain storage operations. This post discusses the hazards, causes, and safety considerations for grain bin operation.

grain storage bins

Causes of Grain Storage Bin Accidents

Prior to discussing the grain bin safety considerations, it is essential to know what causes accidents while operating grain bins.

  • If a worker accidentally stands on the layer of a moving or flowing grain then he may get pulled in the load triggering panic. If not handled timely, the worker may even die due to suffocation.
  • If the grain stock has mold or moisture then it can cause a bridge and cavity kind of space under the grain stock. In such conditions, if the person stands on the bridge, then it can collapse and bury the person too.
  • If the operator stands nearby the standing grain stock inside the storage bin, then grain can fall over the person causing burial and suffocation.

Safety Considerations for Grain Storage Bin Operations

The following are some grain bin safety considerations stated by OSHA for grain storage bin operations.

  • Before allowing the operator to enter the grain storage bin, it must be assured that all the equipment is turned off. Electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic supplementary devices must be de-energized. This will terminate the grain movement inside the storage bin allowing safe conditions for the operator to enter.
  • Instruct the operator about moving grain situations, also prohibit the operator from walking on the grain.
  • Prohibit walking over the bridging or cavity spaces under the grain pile. Such locations must be tagged or flagged for an operator to be cautious.
  • The operator must enter with proper protective equipment like body harnesses, lifeline cords, boatswain’s chairs, etc. Grain entrapment prevention kits must be provided to the operator before entering the storage bin. The arrangement should be in such a manner that the operator shall not go deeper than the waist level.
  • The operator must be rescued immediately if any uncertain activity takes place. The equipment like grain entrapment rescue cofferdams, bunker walkways on the grain buildup lines must be used.
  • Make use of offhand-signals since the possibility of electronic communication failure are higher in the case of operating grain bin. If the technology works well, electronic communication can be used definitely but if it fails the hand-signal communication must be a secondary option.
  • Test the air quality inside the grain bin, as these are often reported for air toxicity, oxygen deficiency, lack of proper ventilation, and deteriorating air quality due to gas clogging inside the bin. Therefore, the oxygen level, gaseous composition of the air inside the bin, moisture level, etc must be tested before the worker enters the bin.

These are a few general grain storage bin safety considerations for the entire team of grain storage bin operations. These are applicable to the external management team, the rescue team, the employer, and the operator to some extent. However, the operator who enters the grain storage bin faces the hazards of grain storage bin operations at a greater intensity. Therefore, the following are grain bin safety tips for the operator to safeguard himself.

Grain Bin Safety Tips for the Operator

The following are some grain bin safety tips for the operator entering the bin storage.

  • Preferably, walk near the outer wall of the grain bin and break the grain with a long pole. Ensure that the pole does not interrupt with any electrical connection lines.
  • Keep walking, do not stop at a spot if the grain starts flowing. If stopped over a flowing grain, it can bury the operator instantly. Also, ensure that you access the rescue rope or ladder instantly.
  • Wear dust filters as grain bins have deposited dust and bad air quality.
  • Do not enter the grain bin when the outside management team is shutting off the mechanical equipment.

Along with all these safety considerations, the quality of a grain storage bin makes a huge impact on the security of the worker, and the efficiency of storage. Therefore, you must buy it from a trusted supplier like J&M Industrial to ensure a high-quality purchase. The company deals in new and surplus industrial equipment. The company provides used and surplus storage bins, used hoppers, bins & silos in different configurations. They offer several years of experience and expert staff assures the quality of their products.