Tips for Keeping Workers Safe around Grain Bins

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Taking grain to a feed mill or elevator incurs additional costs for drying, shrinkage, storage, and handling, among other things. Many farmers choose to store their grain on-farm and save money rather than pay these additional charges. Grain storage on the farm is a feasible alternative to commercial storage and has its own set of advantages. Grain Bins are one of the most effective structures for on-farm storage of dry grains.


Pulling a worker trapped in a grain bin demands a lot of force, far more than rescuing someone from an underwater situation. Grain resists the force used by rescuers to extricate a buried worker. To overcome this resistance, rescue systems must be created. The strength of a rescuer is unlikely to be sufficient to free a trapped worker. 


Employer Requirements and OSHA Grain Bin Safety Tips


On entering storage bins, workers must:

  • Turn off and lock off all powered equipment associated with the bin, including augers used to help move the grain, so that the grain is not emptied or moved out or into the bin. Standing on a moving grain can be fatal; the grain can function as “quicksand” and bury a worker in a matter of seconds. When grain is moved out of a bin while a worker is inside, a suction is created that pulls the worker into the grain in seconds.


  • Check the air in a bin or silo before entering for combustible and poisonous gases, as well as to see if there is enough oxygen.


  • If hazardous atmospheres are found through testing, vent them to ensure that flammable and poisonous gas levels are decreased to non-hazardous levels and that adequate oxygen levels are maintained.


  • Prohibit employees from stepping down grain and other similar behaviors that cause the grain to flow.


  • Provide each employee with a body harness with a lifeline or a chair, and make sure it is securely fastened before they enter the bin.


Risks Of Monitoring Bin Grains


It’s never a safe time to enter your Bin Grain. It is one of the top five farm risks, and it is no laughing matter.

If you want to monitor grain in person, you must go to the bin location regardless of the weather.


Bad weather can cause you to slip and fall, resulting in injury. Falls are another one of the top five farm dangers. You may need to climb to the top of the bin or silo on occasion. But keep in mind that a fall from that height outside is usually lethal. Even fracturing a bone can keep you from doing your other farming tasks.


With remote grain monitoring, you can reduce typical safety issues at your bin locations.

The remote system also allows you to compare data from prior weeks and months. Grain shrinkage can be avoided by knowing the temperature in real-time. You will know when to turn on or off the fans in the silo to avoid over-aeration.


Installing a Bin-Sense Live system is a good place to start. This technology will keep you informed on what is going on inside your bins 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wherever you are. You may also track your inventory and keep an eye on grain theft for further peace of mind.