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Senior Advisor

Grain Bin Deaths Down in 2012

A recent NPR report says that according to Purdue, the 2012 toll for grain bin deaths was 8, down from 31 in 2010.  The report cites a smaller, drier harvest that didn't have as much wet grain that caused storage problems which led to workers entering bins to dislodge bridging.

In addition, whereas earlier the breakout was 70% was caused by OSHA exempt facilities like farms and 30% happened in OSHA subject plants, new data shows that 32% were at commercial enterprises, 32% on farms and the rest did not have the facility identified.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/07/189569010/grain-deaths-fall-in-2012-but-industry-shar...

Any number of deaths is tragic, but the idea that 3-4 people died in farm grain bins is not enough reason for OSHA to try to extend it's regulations to my farm, as far as I'm concerned.

As the study points out, grain quality is a major factor in whether there are grain bin deaths.  Farmers have smaller facilities and are financially directly concerned with grain quality.  OSHA getting into farms is a solution without a problem.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

Jim, i get your point about smaller farms. The problem is, the regulatory threshhold is rarely set low enough to exempt anyone of any size at all.

When you see environmental regs in print, the number of animal units is generally set at 250. Each species at given points in production represents a different animal unti calculation per head of animal...it seems that finishing higs may be 2.5 head per animal unit, for example. That is not a very commercially viable hog operation when you do the math.

Further on in the jurisdictional language, they pick up operations of any size, if a problem is perceived. Enough terms are left ambiguous enough to opt virtually everyone in.

It is the new American Way....

Someone with your smarts ought to be able to invent a sound wave generator or something similar, which could easily and inexpensively dislodge bridged grain.
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Senior Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

Class  8 commercial transportation gets interesting if you guys want to talk"volume " of regs -with a few bad apples creating the tsunami ---

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Honored Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

It can be one bad apple. The " Oceanview" farm in NC is still being given as a rationale for every new reg, and that spill was in 1995. Farm was investor- owned, so basically an acxidnet waiing to happen. Moratorium on new swine operations passed next year, and ill never be lifted. Best thing that ever happened for those already in business, but hell on anyone wanting in after that.
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Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

Grain bin deaths clearly have always clustered in years following a late wet crop, therefore 2010 and 1994 stand out.

 

Has little to do with anything else.

 

An aside- I know a grain buyer who has been at it for 40 years and he always says that there are certain farmers who can't keep grain in condition (in any year) and of course he loves them dearly because he buys their out of condition stuff at a deep discount in the summer and blends it onto unit trains. It is like printing money for him, not for them.

 

It really is worth investing in the necessary drying, cleaning or monitoring equipment to put grain in condition and have it keep.

 

It isn't that hard- I can't say that I've never had a problem but it is one thing that I can say I do better than most. Making sure it goes in the bin at the right, consistent moisture is #1 and if it doesn't then watch it like a hawk and have a plan to get it blended and moved very early.

 

BTW, some of those guys are the ones who are always the first at the coffee shop to report that they "are done." Really, with the sort of profitiability that most crop farms have enjoyed recently there's no reason to not have both the capacity to get 'er done and the capacity to get 'er done right.

 

 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

When we had small, poorly ventilated bins and livestock, we could get by with blending a bad grain.  With much less livestock, farmers don't have an easy out for bad grain so it's more in their interest to prevent it going bad.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

If the whole truth were to be known, most fatalities in workplaces, including on farms, are probably when the system is pushed outside its normal parameters. People are working too many hours with inadequate rest, under pressure of weather or other stressors.

Decisions may be made that any sane person would know in a heartbeat are just plain stupid. I have threatened to drag a grown man off of a tractor in a hayfield, with sharp lightning cracking overhead, on at least one occasion, for example. Fortunately for us (or not), Mike had one very close call haying early on in our farming career, that landed him in the ER. He has behaved a lot better ever since....

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Senior Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

Kaye  - Reminds me of the morning  "safety briefings - exercising " at our bridge jobsites along the rails --- always found them interesting ---

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Senior Advisor

Re: Grain Bin Deaeths Down in 2012

K-289, my company uses something on a monthly timetable not daily, we call them "Safety Shorts". You know me, I tell them that's the first thing I put on after my shower. HA HA
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Senior Contributor

Re: Grain Bin Deaths Down in 2012

Shaggy, do those shorts meet NFPA 170.35? You know the one that tells you what kind of underwear to wear if working on live electrical components. As I am writing this, it kind of got in my head why we don't want any more government involvement on the farm.
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