NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Grain Safety- February 17, 2016

Right now on the roads we are seeing dozens of grain trucks hauling to the elevators. Some might think that winter is a vacation for farmers, but that is not the case. Farmers are busy getting ready for the next growing season and still finishing up tasks from the previous. When on the roads, as always, drive cautiously around large vehicles. Grain trucks haul heavy loads and have a hard time stopping suddenly, unlike smaller vehicles. Farmers have to be cautious on the road and also while loading and unloading grain. North Dakota State University Extension Service put out a publication in January 2013 that was revised by Kenneth Hellevang, an Agriculture Engineer. This publication is titled Caught in the Grain! Which discusses the three commons ways people can get trapped. People who work with grain- whether unloading, loading or moving it, need to be away of these hazards for themselves and bystanders. One of the first ways people can get trapped is by the collapse of bridged grain. When grain is stored with a high moisture content and poor conditions it ups the chances of that grain becoming moldy. The kernels inside of the bin may stick together creating a self-supporting crust, which gives the workers a false indication that it is safe to stand on top. A hollow cavity does form underneath crusted grain when some of the grain has been removed from the bin. Never enter the bin to attempt to break the bridge or to stand on the grain, try to break the bridge from the outside, using a pole for collapsing and letting the grain fall. To prevent grain bridging store grin in good condition and avoiding spoilage, which leads to crusted grain. The second way that people can get trapped in grain is by a collapse of a vertical mass of grain. Grain can “set up” in a large mass against the bin walls or other various formations when it has been stored in poor conditions. The mass of grain can collapse and cause an avalanche like effect, with no warning. Never enter a bin and try to break down grain which has “set up” in a large mass, attempt to break the mass from the outside or through the bin door with a long pole. Always expect and be prepared for the grain to break free at any moment without warning. The final way that people can get trapped is by flowing grain. Flowing grain will not support the weight of a person, it pulls a person down within a matter of seconds. A person cannot be pulled from flowing grain without risk of injury to the personals spinal column if the grain is waist height or higher. Dangerous grain flowing situations are; grain flowing downward in a bin, grain flowing downward out of a rail car, truck or wagon box; and grain flowing downward in an auger-pit. As a safety precaution, install a permanent life-line that hangs from the middle of the bin, tie slip-reducing knots about one foot apart from each other. To reduce the risk of these possibilities for getting trapped in bins, proper and good grain storage is key.


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