Staying safe around grain bins

Staying safe around grain bins
Feb 19, 2019

Grain Bin Safety Week runs from Feb. 17 to Feb. 23

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Grain bin safety is in the spotlight for Nationwide Insurance’s Grain Bin Safety Week.

While safety concerns might not be easily visible, farmers and others in the industry must take several precautions when working inside grain bins, said Ted Mottaz, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

“You might look at a grain bin and not see anything wrong,” he told “But, if you step into a grain bin and the grain is going down into the auger, it’s going to pull you in. You should never be in a bin with the unloading auger going (and) you should have safety equipment to keep you above the grain. Ideally, someone else would be around to work with you so you’re not alone.”

Flowing grain can engulf someone within seconds, a 2015 report on confined space-related injuries said.

Providing  firefighters with the proper tools can help them handle rescue attempts more effectively.

A national contest is helping equip fire departments with grain bin rescue equipment.

Since 2014, Nationwide Insurance has awarded grain bin rescue tubes to 77 fire departments and training for firefighters across 24 states to help them respond to grain entrapment scenarios. That year, 38 documented grain entrapments resulted in 18 deaths.

“The work that farmers do is critical to the fabric of America, and their jobs are often dangerous,” Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, said in a statement.

This year, Nationwide is once again calling for fire department nominations for the specialized equipment and training.

Community members can nominate local fire departments until April 30. Firefighters can also put their departments’ names forward.

Submissions must explain how the department and overall community could benefit from grain entrapment equipment and training. Applications should also detail how the training could be shared with nearby rescuers.

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