Lockout Tags and Safety Signs Protect Workers
Grain entrapment is an easily avoidable hazard in corn silos across the country. Unfortunately, many employers fail to implement the proper procedures such as providing training, farming safety signs, and lockout tags for their workers. This lack of safety kills about 16 American workers every year.
Wet and clumped grain binds together like concrete, and when walking on the grain it becomes compressed. The compression acts like quicksand. Workers sink until they are finally stuck under hundreds of pounds of grain. The illegal action of "walking down the grain," breaking up those clumps, is often carried out by untrained workers without safety procedures in place.
Lockout tags on auger machines and OSHA safety signs alert workers both in and out of the silos of the hazards at hand. When an auger is running, it sucks grain down, creating a vortex that pulls workers under. Federal law requires the shutdown of machines and use of lockout tags during grain bin entry.
Safety harnesses and the use of spotters help protect workers from the outside. OSHA safety signs requiring the use of PPE like harnesses should be posted before the access doors. Spotters respond during emergencies while the harnesses prevent workers from sinking further down the grain.
Grain entrapment is best prevented by stopping workers from "walking down the grain." With the right training for safe grain bin entry and proper rescue plans, almost all of these losses can be prevented.