Every year, confined spaces are the cause of injury or death for farmers. From grain bins to silos, confined spaces can suffocate, engulf, electrocute or harm farmers. This National Farm Safety and Health Week, COUNTRY Financial® and the Illinois Farm Bureau are urging farmers to shift safety into high gear to avoid devastation within your operation.
“Staying out of confined spaces is the best way to ensure safety, but that is not always an option,” says Eric Vanasdale, Loss Control Supervisor for COUNTRY Financial. “When you must enter these dangerous spaces having some basic safety knowledge and putting it into practice can end up saying a life.”
Because the planting season was unusual, farmers could experience an unusual harvest, while possibly under stress considering 2019 farm outcomes. It is important for everyone to shift safety into high gear to avoid safety incidents.
“A wet harvest usually means more confined space incidents,” says Dave Newcomb, Agriculture Rescue Program Manager with the Illinois Fire Service Institute. “When grain is stored too wet incidents spike because more farmers have to enter bins to address problems.”
The following are some simple steps farmers can take to remain safe this harvest season:
- Evaluate the atmosphere. Use a gas meter to check for adequate oxygen content and the presence of toxic gases like carbon monoxide (which can be present if there is combustion or smoldering grain), fumigants, or excessive carbon dioxide.
- Never enter a grain bin alone. Have another person or two outside the bin ready to help. They should be trained in rescue procedures and should know safety procedures for entering a confined space.
- Shut down all grain loading and unloading equipment and lock out the power sources to them. Following lockout/tagout procedures can prevent most significant grain handling related fatalities.
About COUNTRY Financial
COUNTRY Financial is a marketing name for COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company® and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, IL. COUNTRY Financial serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States and offers a wide range of insurance and financial products and services.