SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health is joining experts in the agriculture industry to promote safety in and around grain handling equipment. Because moving grain acts like quicksand, grain bin deaths happen in seconds. According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a worker standing on moving grain can be trapped within just five seconds and covered in grain in less than half a minute. OSHA also stresses that any worker entering a grain bin should be provided with a body harness attached to a lifeline and a second person should be outside the bin to monitor for safety and call for help if something goes wrong.
“Silos have the potential to be deadly when a proper safety plan isn’t in place,” said IL OSHA Division Chief Erik Kambarian, CSP. “Proper education, training and planning can be life-saving.”
OSHA lists the following as the three most common scenarios leading to grain entrapment
- A worker stands on moving/flowing grain typically caused by an auger running or grain being moved out of the bin by gravity.
- A worker stands on or below a grain bridging situation. Bridging happens when damp grain clumps together, creating an empty space beneath the grain as it is unloaded. A worker above or below this bridge of grain is at risk should the bridge collapse.
- A worker stands next to an accumulated pile of grain on the side of the bin and attempts to dislodge it. It can collapse onto the worker.