Agriculture, forestry and fishing Injury prevention

Use caution working in grain bins, Indiana DOL warns

Indianapolis – The risk of injury and death at grain-handling facilities can be reduced by recognizing the dangers and taking necessary precautions, the Indiana Department of Labor states.

Grain bins present fall, electrocution, engulfment and explosion hazards, so employees should never work alone in the facilities, the department advised in a July 24 press release. Hundreds of workers have been injured or killed in grain bins across the country in the past three decades, according to Indiana DOL.

The state agency offers additional tips that farm workers should keep in mind this harvest season, including:

  • Provide employees with appropriate fall protection equipment before they enter a grain bin.
  • Shut down and lock out power sources before employees enter a grain bin or silo.
  • Prohibit employees from “walking down the grain” (a process that entails walking on top of grain to make it flow while machinery is running) or entering a bin underneath a buildup of grain products.
  • Test the grain bin or silo air for combustible or toxic gases and sufficient oxygen before entering.