MADISON LAKE, Minn. (KEYC) — With two Minnesotans passing away due to farm accidents last week, a local safety and security consultation specialist on how to prevent farm accidents, specifically in or around grain bins.
With a devastating week for Minnesota farmers last week and harvest just around the corner, experts are stressing safety while working on the farm.
Including when working in or around grain bins as things can change in an instant.
“The acronym I like to use when we’re dealing with bin safety or anything else working on the farm is SAFE: Stop and first evaluate,” said Jack Volz, owner of Safety and Security Consultation Specialists, LLC.
A person usually enters a grain bin when there is a problem or the grain has gone out of condition.
The grain sits at an angle depending on the size of the bin and the amount of the grain and when shoveled, it succumbs to gravity.
“It moves a tremendous amount of grain down. We’ve seen it gain 6 feet in the center of the bin just because of the flow depending on the size of the bin and what’s there,” said Volz.
That is one way a person can become trapped in a grain bin.
“The other place that we have people getting hurt in a bin, they get caught up in the unloading equipment. As you can see, that’s a big screw, it turns and brings the grain into the center and people can get entrapped in that tremendously quick,” said Volz.
“The way to go into a bin and maintain your safety is the fact that, number one, the unloading equipment needs to be shut down. If it’s not shut down, even if you are entrapped, it will continue to draw you down,” said Volz.
Always have a buddy with you.
“More important than having everything shut down is the fact that we need to have somebody watching over us while we’re in that bin, somebody at the door, somebody at the opening, so if something happens, they can be sure to call for help and get help coming,” said Volz.
Often it’s only one person doing the job in a remote area.
“A long ways away from other people and they’re not missed for hours. Lots of times we hear when we’re out there doing stuff that these guys that are entrapped have been entrapped for an hour and a half to three hours before anybody even finds them or misses them,” said Volz.
It's also suggested to mark the controls for your bin, so emergency personnel can turn off the equipment if needed.