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New safety standards proposed for grain bins

Grain bin accidents are a serious risk for farm workers in Illinois and throughout the country. One of the biggest risks of working with grain bins is how to safely enter the grain bin. While safety harnesses are helpful, they need to be connected to a secure safety line in the grain bin to help prevent accidents and fatalities.

The safety risks associated with grain handling and grain bins are well-known in the farming industry. Unfortunately, grain bin accidents continue to happen because proper safety precautions are not followed or understood by all employers and farm workers.

The Grain Handling Safety Coalition believes they have a solution to grain bin safety hazards. They said they are in the process of developing a safety harness system with an anchor that can reduce the risks and number of injuries and fatalities caused by grain bin accidents.

This new system would help reduce the safety risks of entering and working in a grain bin because the safety harness would be securely attached to an anchor in the bin. This innovation could potentially save hundreds of farm workers every year.

Grain handling continues to be very dangerous in Illinois. Grain bins become dangerous when farm workers enter the bin to sort out grain because grain on the side of the bin can crush workers. Grain is also dangerous because it can emit toxins that can be hazardous to workers' health.

To address the significant safety concerns of grain bins, the American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers are setting new standards for bin manufacturers to reduce accidents and fatalities. The new standards include the requirement for larger entry doors to help rescue and observe grain bin workers, create a platform on the roof to help observe, create larger roof access to help during rescues and install anchor points to help support workers wearing safety harnesses and safety ropes.

Agricultural safety advocates hope that these new standards can help reduce serious and fatal grain bin accidents and lead to a safer farming industry for all workers.

Source: Agriculture, "Get a Leg Up on Bin Safety," Cheryl Tevis, Feb. 28, 2013

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