Smith: There’s no question that agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap is a trained EMT and farmer who says the most important safety tip he can offer is to never work alone unless there’s no other choice.
Paap: Well, there’s grain bin safety, there’s safety with other confined spaces, whether it’s a silo, a manure pit, most everything around the farm, the best thing to do is not to work alone. Always have somebody (along) when you can. There are times it doesn’t work out that way but for grain bin specific, we really can’t be working alone, especially when we’re having issues with grain quality.
Smith: Those grain quality issues mean farmers often have to get into their bins and break up some of the “clumping together that occurs,” which is a dangerous job.
Paap: Now you combine low test weight with high-moisture content together, the problem is definitely there, so we’re going to have some issues with crusting and clumping and things that won’t feed. We need to be aware of those issues and properly take care of them and not take chances.
Smith: Any farmer who needs to go into their bin has to have a lifeline and a second person watching what’s happening. Paap says to call for help immediately if someone does go under and take a couple of quick steps to boost their chances of getting out alive.
Paap: It’s important to make sure we get that power off so the equipment stops running, but we can’t shut all the power off because we really want those fans on. It’s very important to turn the aeration fan on, get some air up through that crop, and to that person that’s submerged in the grain.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.