SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEHT) – Grain Bin Safety week is from February 20 through 26, and during this week it is encouraged that people review safety tips for when in or around grain bins.

“Often times we become complacent when doing tasks we have done a thousand times and for farmers that often means working in and around grain bins,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director, Jerry Costello II.  “Unfortunately, problems involving flowing grain can snowball quickly. That’s why it’s important to set aside time to go over safety measures, to prepare farmers for a potential grain bin emergency.”

“Fire departments and districts continue to train so they are ready to aid and assist in the event of a grain entrapment,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “In some rural areas, response times are increased due to the rural nature of these facilities, which makes it vitally important that farmers don’t take any unnecessary risks and use safe practices.”

University of Illinois Extension suggests whenever possible, don’t enter a grain bin. If anyone must enter the bin, they should:

  • Break up crusted grain from the outside of the bin with a long pole. When using a pole, check to see that it doesn’t come into contact with electric lines.
  • Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope.
  • Stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain starts to flow. Get to the bin ladder or safety rope as quickly as possible.
  • Have another person, preferably two people, outside the bin who can help if an individual becomes entrapped. These people should be trained in rescue procedures and should know and follow safety procedures for entering the confined space.
  • Grain fines and dust may cause difficulty in breathing. Anyone working in a grain bin, especially for the purpose of cleaning the bin, should wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator.
  • Stay out of grain bins, wagons, and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running.
  • If entering the bin is necessary, remember to shut off the power to augers and fans. It’s a good idea to lock out any unloading equipment before entering a bin to prevent someone from unintentionally starting the equipment while someone is in the bin.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons, or truck beds.
  • Where possible, ladders should be installed inside grain bins to for an emergency exit. Ladders are easier to locate inside a dusty bin if there are brightly painted stripes just above or behind the ladder.

If anyone is interested in more information about grain bin safety, please go to: