The condition of your grain and agricultural materials can be a major hazard to your employees. In addition to using caution when handling and processing these materials, you need to make sure your facility has the right materials to store your grain properly for the long term. Inadequate storage materials and conditions can lead to a range of issues, including mold, leakage, and what’s known as cliffing. This is when dried out or crusty grain forms inside the container.
Learn more about these issues and how you can prevent them.
How the Condition of Your Grain Affects Worker Safety
Grain can be sensitive to moisture, excessive heat, cold, and other storage hazards. Dust, mold spores, bacteria, and other airborne contaminants can affect the health and safety of your employees. Every worker should wear a respirator, goggles, and safety equipment when working near or inside grain handling containers.
Make sure your grain containers and bins are locked and sealed to prevent the spread of moisture, mold, and mildew. Store your materials in a dry, room-temperature location to avoid drying them out and the phenomenon known as cliffing.
Crusted grain, or cliffing, can be a danger to your workers in several ways:
- If a worker steps on a cliff of grain, it could collapse unexpectedly beneath their feet, which can lead to entrapment and suffocation. The grain will shift rapidly, trapping the worker inside the container.
- Cliffing can lead to large clumps of grain. Workers will then have to go inside the bin or container to break up the clump. This increases the chances of entrapment and other workplace accidents. Reducing cliffing reduces the need for employees to enter the container.
- When workers try to break up clumps of grain, it can set off a chain reaction, trapping the worker inside.
Grain Condition Safety Tips
Conduct regular inspections of your grain handling equipment and storage materials and address issues as quickly as possible. Label grain containers that may have been compromised to alert other employees of cliffing, mold, and other possible issues. Examine the area around your storage materials. Watch out for pests, holes, gaps, and dents that may damage your grain products.
Create a comprehensive rescue plan if entrapment should occur. Make sure your team members are wearing a safety harness and line when entering the container. Use the lock-in/lock-out system to ensure that all grain equipment is off and cannot be turned on when workers are inside the grain bin.
Go over the rescue process with your employees to make sure they know what to do in an emergency. Keep emergency contact information nearby, including the number of a local rescue team. Let them know that someone is trapped and that you plan to enter before attempting a rescue. Find out if local officials have the equipment necessary to extract a crew member from a grain bin.
Use this information to keep your employees safe in the workplace. As leaders in the feed mill construction industry, Halverson Company is dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of our clients. Contact our team of Salt Lake City construction professionals to learn more about the latest trends in grain handling safety.