Many states, Neenan notes, require the completion of an entry permit that must be certified by the employer or an employer representative before anyone can enter a bin. But even in states where permits are not required, basic safety steps should be taken prior to entering a bin. These include:

• Locking out and tagging out all means of filling and emptying the bin. This includes mechanical, electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems. Lockout kits cost only about $35.

• Have on hand a body harness and lifeline/boatswain’s chair.

• Check bin atmosphere for oxygen content, combustible gases, or toxic agents.

• Adequate lighting.


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• Be sure the person entering the bin is trained in safe entry procedures.

• Have a minimum of two standby personnel available to observe and to assist in an emergency.

Putting safety measures in place, having proper equipment on hand, and insuring that all farm personnel are trained in what to do in case of a grain bin accident can “pay a huge return on the investment of money and time,” Neenan says.

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