You, your employees and perhaps even family members will be spending more time than normal around your grain center and grain bins during this time of the year. Now is the time to take steps to minimize the chances for grain center tragedies.
Here are four ways to make the grain center environment safer. These ideas were spotted at the Indiana Young Farmers Association display at the 2016 Indiana State Fair. The exhibit was sponsored by Brock.
1. Limit access to stairs that lead to top of bin.
If your bin has a staircase instead of a ladder, hopefully it’s equipped with some form of gate that can be closed when the stairs aren’t in use. Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist Bill Field has worked with companies like Brock Manufacturing to help make working around bins as safe as possible. If your stairs have a door, don’t just close it — lock it when it isn’t in use.
2. Limit access to ladders, and make climbing as safe as possible.
If the grain bin ladder folds up out of the way when not in use, be sure to place it in that position to limit access from the ground. Consider a protective hoop cage for the ladder.
If the bin has stairs, be sure that a handrail is also installed to make climbing safer.
3. Lock out power with a secure lock when no one is around.
Most electrical control switches and boxes that run motors around the grain center, especially on the unloading auger, can be locked out. Make sure to install a lock and use it.
Even if you’re going in a bin to work on something and won’t run the auger, lock it out. That would prevent an employee who doesn’t know you are in the bin from turning it on.
4. Install a lid opener to reduce climbing.
If you install a simple lid opener that you can operate from the ground, there may be times when you don’t have to climb the bin just to open the lid. Do what you can to minimize the need for climbing.