Safe Grain Handling Operations
John Lee, Lead Instructor
Entering grain bins can be dangerous if the hazards are not known and safe entry procedures are not followed. A person entering a grain bin can be entrapped by flowing or bridged grain before realizing what has happened. It only takes 4 or 5 seconds to become entrapped and helpless in small grain bins and 10 to 20 seconds for complete engulfment in large commercial grain bins.
Concern has been growing over the past few years on the increasing number of entrapments and deaths taking place at facilities that handle grain. A lack of awareness of the great danger in handling flowing grain is cited as one of the major causes. Many believe the mindset of the industry towards safety has not kept pace with the use of larger and faster grain handling equipment, the increased size of storage bins and the year-round storage of grain.
You can prevent entrapment and possible suffocation by ensuring each person handling grain receives information and effective training. The information associated with the typical training experience is of little use without understanding. The best learning experiences come when the participant is immersed in an environment that is as close to real as possible.
OSHA regulates grain facilities and in 1987 issued an industry-specific rule on the Grain Handling Standard. The standard is found in 29 CFR 1910.272 and focuses on requirements for controlling grain fires, grain dust explosions and hazards associated with entry into bins, silos and tanks. Grain facilities are also subject to numerous general industry OSHA standards.
The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and the Asmark Institute have partnered to provide a series of high-quality, hands-on training to personnel within the agricultural industry who handle grain.
Courses include a great deal of hands-on training, demonstrations and exercises. Some of the equipment used in these courses includes legs, bearing monitors, sweep augers, storage bins, hopper bottom bins, conveyors, ropes, harnesses and other rescue equipment.
A first of its kind, this unique training complex provides for live training using real equipment and scenarios re-creating real-life situations. The Agricenter houses $300,000 of grain handling equipment used for training. Regardless of the weather, training proceeds with a lively mixture of classroom, audio-visual clips, demonstrations, exercises and real-life scenarios.
The Safe Grain Handling Operations course will be presented over a two-day period and immerses the participant in an environment that is as close to real as possible. This is an intermediate course designed for experienced grain handling personnel and uses a variety of demonstrations, equipment and scenarios to exercise the participant's existing knowledge to reflect on the safety issues they have encountered. Thought-provoking, this course engages the participant to apply their knowledge and skills to find safe, acceptable and workable solutions. This course includes an in-depth review of the following:
- Grain Handling Standard
- Hazard recognition exercises
- Grain handling hazard prevention
- Maintenance programs
- Man lift safety and operations
- Personal protective equipment requirements
- Electrical safety exercises
- Lockout/Tagout procedures
- Fire Extinguisher safety
- Grain bin entry/rescue scenarios
- Sweep auger safety
Note: This course is scheduled back-to-back with the Welcome to the Grain Industry course to allow participants to register for both courses.