Lindsay Mitchell

Oct 10, 2016  |  Today's News

Statistics show agriculture has been the deadliest U.S. industry every year for the last decade, beating mining and construction in deaths per 100,000 workers.  With harvest season upon us, please don’t forget the dangers associated with working in and around grain bins.  Most accidents on the farm CAN be prevented.

Nearly 20 percent of grain bin deaths are workers under the age of 20.  Most incidents involve entering the bin for maintenance or repair and then suffocating or drowning in the crop.

To be safer around grain bins:

  • Most grain bin accidents occur when grain is being unloaded.
  • More than 40 percent of accidents involve grain out of condition.
  • If entering a bin, shut off power and use a safety harness.
  • Most importantly, always work in pairs.

Augers present another danger on the farm during harvest.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, on a per-hour-of-use basis, augers are one of the most dangerous types of farming equipment.

To be safer around augers:

  • Children under the age of 18 should not operate augers and should not enter an area near an auger.
  • Before starting an auger, operators should ensure all protective shields are in place and in good working condition.
  • To prevent entanglement, persons wearing loose clothing or jewelry, or persons with long untied hair should not operate augers.
  • Workers should not step or jump on or over augers while in operation.
  • Barriers (i.e. fences) should be used to prevent persons not involved in the operation of an auger from entering the area adjacent to the auger.

Grain bin safety is a top concern among many agricultural groups.  Both the University of Illinois Extension and the Grain & Feed Association can provide farmers with safety and education materials.