Farmers learn grain bin safety
by Rory Doyle
Mar 04, 2013 | 3207 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bin Safety
Jackie Peterson volunteered to sink into a grain bin rescue simulator at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Safety Department's grain bin safety workshop. Justin Ferguson, left, Region One manger, and Chris Shivers, safety specialist, led the demonstration on how to rescue farmworkers in the event they fall into a bin.
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The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Safety Department is doing its part to keep farmers safe, alert and prepared.

The Farm Bureau, in conjunction with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, held a grain bin safety workshop last week at Wade Inc. in Boyle.

The event was part of a series of workshops for farmers and employees. A presentation was given Tuesday in Sardis and Thursday at the Silent Shade Planting Company Shop in Belzoni.

Classes were led by Dan Neenan, director of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety at Northeast Iowa Community College, and were designed to teach the preliminary steps to take if someone is trapped in a grain bin until emergency response personnel arrive.

Justin Ferguson, Farm Bureau Region One manger, said the classes have been going well and thinks the topic is worthy of attention.

"Within the last four to five years we've seen a shift from cotton planters getting into corn and grain, which means we're seeing more people building grain bins and farm storage," said Ferguson.

"This event is about educating people on a hot button issue and the dangers associated with it," he added. "Handling grain is still new to some people."

Attendees witnessed a live demonstration of safe exit techniques in a mobile grain bin simulator.

A volunteer victim was sunk into the corn-filled bin and received assistance from two rescuers who illustrated safe methods.

Local emergency response crews also went through the drill at Wednesday evening classes to prep for the scenario in the line of duty.

"There have been a number of incidents of farmers and farm employees accidentally falling in and it can be very difficult to get out, even if you're only trapped up to your knees," said Ferguson.

Automated equipment has made management of grain easy and fast, but grain storage structures and handling equipment create hazardous work areas.

Farm workers should make sure to take proper steps to put safety first for preventing injuries, illnesses and even death.

The Farm Bureau offers a variety of grain bin safety precautions on its website.

Whenever possible, don’t enter a grain bin. If you must enter as a farmer/operator, you should:

• Break up crusted grain from the outside of the bin with a long pole. When using a pole, check to see that it doesn’t come into contact with electric lines.

• Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope.

• Stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow. Get to the bin ladder or safety rope as quickly as possible.

• Have another person, preferably two people, outside the bin who can help if you become entrapped. These people should be trained in rescue procedures and should know and follow safety procedures for entering the confined space.

• Grain fines and dust may cause difficulty in breathing. Anyone working in a grain bin, especially for the purpose of cleaning the bin, should wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator.

• Stay out of grain bins, wagons and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running.

• If it is necessary to enter the bin, remember to shut off the power to augers and fans. It is a good idea to lock out any unloading equipment before you enter a bin to prevent someone from unintentionally starting the equipment while you are in the bin.

• Children should not be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons or truck beds.

• Where possible, ladders should be installed inside grain bins to form an emergency exit. Ladders are easier to locate inside a dusty bin if there are brightly painted stripes just above or behind the ladder.

The workshops align with Farm Bureau's mission to create an environment in which Mississippi farmers, ranchers and Farm Bureau members can have a better life and make a better living.