Dangerous flowing grain situations are:

  • grain flowing downward in a bin
  • grain flowing downward out of a rail car, truck or wagon box
  • grain flowing downward in an auger-pit

A person should never enter any of these containers when the grain is flowing. The last two of the above scenarios for being buried or entrapped in grain could be very common conditions in grain storage bins this year. In some states, the corn and soybean crops are far behind in their development and maturation. As a result, a lot of grain could be harvested at higher than preferred moisture contents and the wetter the grain is, the greater the chances are that it could crust (bridge) over or stick to a side of the bin in a tower formation creating highly hazardous conditions.

There are several safety measures that one should adopt to reduce one's chances of becoming buried or entrapped in grain:

  • Children should not be permitted to work or play in an area where there is flowing grain or the chance of flowing grain. Flowing grain is an attractive nuisance and is dangerous to people of all ages, especially children. Children should never be allowed to play in grain wagons.
  • All persons involved in situations where there is flowing grain should be warned to stay out of the grain.
  • Warning decals should be placed at all bin entrances, on all rail cars, truck and trailer boxes used for grain hauling and on all gravity discharge wagons.
  • Never enter a grain bin without stopping the auger first and then using "lock-out/tag-out" procedures to secure it. Use a key type of padlock to securely lock the switch for the auger in the off position. Attach a tag to the locked switch so that other people involved can positively identify it.
  • Never enter a grain bin alone; have at least two people at the bin to assist in case problems arise. Use a safety harness or safety line when entering the bin.
  • Install a permanent life-line hanging from the center of the bin for a person to grab on to. Tie slip-reducing knots about one foot apart along the life-line. A life-line in a grain bin does not make it safe to enter the bin and should not lead workers to taking undue risks because of a false sense of security. Life-lines are commercially available through safety equipment retailers.
  • After the harvest season, control the access to grain storage facilities to prevent grain entrapments.