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Grain Silo Safety

By Alliant

Agricultural workers are at a serious risk of injury and/or death when installing, climbing into, fumigating, entering, filling or emptying a silo. Because of the nature of the conditions present, workers may be exposed to hazards such as a lack of oxygen, toxic gases and grain entrapment. To reduce the risk of injury, consider the following safety recommendations:

General Grain Handling Safety Precautions

  • Never smoke near a silo or cause sparks to ignite grain dust. It is extremely explosive.
  • If possible, complete tasks outside of the silo.
  • Wear respiratory protection when appropriate.
  • Ensure that all machine guarding equipment is in good working order.


Grain Silo Fumigation Safety

  • Ventilate a fumigating silo before entering.
  • Open phosphine containers while in open air and wear protection gear
  • Always fumigate with a co-worker nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Mark areas being fumigated with clearly labeled signs.


Avoiding Grain Suffocation

  • Never enter a silo unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Always turn off the auger and ensure that no one is going to empty or fill the silo before entering.
  • Stand on a ladder above compacted or bridged grain while dislodging it.


Grain Silo Structural Safety Concerns

  • Adhere to a “bedding-in” procedure when filling a silo by drawing off a rubbish bin full of grain.
  • Instruct all co-workers to stay away when filling or emptying a silo.
  • Conduct regular safety inspections of silos.


Protection Against Falls from Grain Silos

  • Use an approved fall restraint system and harness when climbing external silo ladders or when accessing a top hatch.
  • Install a wire mesh guard on external openings above the maximum grain level.


If You Become Trapped by Grain

  • Shield your face and chest with your arms to create space to breathe.
  • Have the co-worker positioned outside the silo call for help.
  • The co-worker should enter the silo only while wearing a breathing apparatus and lifeline.
  • Others from outside can then pull you both out safely.


For More Information, Contact: 

Lee Tilleman
Vice President
Alliant Agribusiness

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Alliant note and disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance. Please note that prior to implementation your legal counsel should review all details or policy information. Alliant Insurance Services does not provide legal advice or legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please seek the services of your own legal advisor or ask Alliant Insurance Services for a referral. This document is provided on an “as is” basis without any warranty of any kind. Alliant Insurance Services disclaims any liability for any loss or damage from reliance on this document.