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Heavenly Farm Report: Grain Bin and Auger Safety

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Just over a week ago a man in Bureau County lost his life in a grain bin accident.
You hear it every year around harvest season, another grain bin accident has occurred. With adequate safety features built into most bins why is this still a reoccurring issue?

Meteorologist Heaven Richey spoke with Sukup Bin Sales Director, John Hanig, for answers.

“When a clump of grain plugs your center well it’s no longer free flowing and people will get inside the bin with stick or probe to start trying to bust that clump in the center. If their load auger is running, and that grain starts flowing, you have twp seconds to react. In four seconds you can be trapped because it has already sucked you down far enough that you can no longer get out yourself. They end up getting overcome by the grain and die of suffocation, “If you need to enter the bin you can take a certified rope and tie it right to ours that way you are tied off on both ends and that keeps me from going down during a collapse.” said Hanig.

John has been with Sukup for over 45 years and he says most bins are equipped with safety devices.

“We have a modified bolt plug that plugs this hole. If you get your center well plugged, you take this out, and you can slide a cable through there. It goes through the tubing into the center of the bin and then it whips around and busts up that chunk so your grain starts flowing again. It eliminates the need for a person to be inside the bin. It’s in the manual and it shows how to put it on, they just need to make sure it’s on.
It doesn’t hurt one thing to put that cable through and have it there just in case. A life it worth it,” said Hanig.

Why are safety tools like this so important? The CDC reports 417 farmers died nationwide from a work related injury in 2016, that’s about 21 deaths per 100 thousand farmers.

Heaven Richey

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