By Gina Ekstam for AssuredPartners
No one should die from grain engulfment – EVER! Engulfment can happen quickly with a split-second decision made by someone just trying to get the job done. Once inside a grain storage bin, an individual can be trapped or engulfed in flowing grain in seconds.
Continued focus on awareness was the message of the 2023 Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week sponsored by an OSHA Cooperative Alliance Program that includes the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Grain Elevator and Processing Society, and National Grain and Feed Association. In 2021, 38% of reported grain engulfments were fatal. Due to the continued efforts of this group, fatalities were down 17% from 2020.
A video safety message was developed by the Alliance to help grain industry employers participate in the awareness and education efforts. The video details how small changes can have a big impact on grain handling safety. One critical step to preventing future engulfment deaths is ensuring equipment is turned off/locked out before entering the bin to perform maintenance.
Following is a quick list of simple steps to make a part of daily routines to keep employees safe:
- Never walk down grain to make it flow.
- Test the air in the bin before entering.
- Use a safety harness and anchored lifeline anytime you enter a bin – full or empty.
- Place a trained observer outside the bin in case of an emergency.
- Do not enter a bin where grain is built up on the side(s).
- Control the accumulation of grain dust through housekeeping efforts.
Additional information for the agribusiness community can be found on the Stand Up webpage. Contact the AssuredPartners Agribusiness team to learn about our safety resources.
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