Grain Bin Safety Demo
I went to a two hour presentation on grain bin safety put on by the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS) which is based out of the Northeast Iowa Community College at Peosta, IA, up near Dubuque.
The first hour was in the classroom where a very informative slide show was presented. We didn't get any big emphasis on statistics. Rather, we got information on the law and how it applies, how to comply with the rules, how grain reacts, real-life situations that resulted in life or death and practices to apply or avoid. Much of it was familiar, but important information was new to me.
One interesting legal fact was that the law applies to farms with over 10 workers. That means if you at any time in the year employed more than 10 workers, even as part time temporary, you were now subject to OSHA. That means you count everyone who ever worked there that year and if the number ismore than 10, you're corporate as far as OSHA is concerned.
The second hour was a demonstration using a cone bottomed bulk tank with a couple of hundred bushels of corn inside. The volonteer (I didn't say dummy) was pulled down into the grain when the bottom trap was opened and the rescue techniques were applied, This was the practical application aspect of the knowledge portion taught earlier. It served to reinforce and demonstrate the points very well.
He demonstrated how to use the grain tube made of panels to protect the victim and to use a brand new auger that is powered by your 18V cordless drill to remove the corn. Great idea.
The instruction was provided by Dan Neenan, a very knowledgeable, no-nonsense guy who had his facts down and obviously knew what he was doing. This was not some ivory towered professor, this guy had worked in grain bins and could talk farmer and elevator worker talk with total credibility.
Most of the audience was elevator workers and others who were required by law or insturance companies to be trained annually. There were 3-4 farmers.
If you get a chance to attend a NECAS presentation I urge you to do so.
Some of the lessons I took away:
1. The incredible amount of force needed to pull someone from being stuck
2. Most deaths are from grain in the mouth and nostrils. Breathing warm air on it only makes it worse.
3. If you have to cut a bin, balance the cuts because otherwise, especially if the grain is hanging up on one side, you might have a bin collapse.
4. Every person who gets in the bin adds to the compaction around the vicitm. No more than two in the bin.
5. 50% of confined space deaths are from would-be rescuers (you hear of this a lot in hog lagoons - I don't know if it applies to grain bins or not).
Here is a page with webinars on grain bin safety and other ag safety issues.