Agriculture Secretary Perdue proclaims Feb. 16-22 Grain Bin Safety Week
During a ceremony in South Dakota on. Feb. 14, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a proclamation naming Feb. 16-22 as Grain Bin Safety Week.
Perdue sat down with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, to talk about the importance of grain bin safety on the farm. Gov. Noem grew up on a farm in Hamlin County, South Dakota, and has a personal connection to farm safety. She has been an advocate for increased grain bin safety efforts for years.
“My life changed forever when we lost my dad in a grain bin accident, and while farmers are often in a hurry to get things done, nothing is worth losing a life," said Gov. Noem. "This Grain Bin Safety Week, I want to encourage producers to evaluate safety procedures on their farms and ranches. Slow down and be safe – your family will thank you for it.”
The purpose of Grain Bin Safety Week is to promote education and awareness of hazards and safe work practices in an effort to reduce the number of accidents associated with grain handling and storage. In 2018, there were 30 documented grain entrapment cases with half of those entrapped resulting in a fatality. With the number of accidents increasing, we must intensify efforts to educate farmers.
“We hope grain operators, farmers and community leaders will join us in expanding knowledge of safe practices not just during National Grain Bin Safety Week, but year-round,” said Secretary Perdue. “Tragedies like the one Governor Noem’s family experienced happen too frequently and call for greater action, which is why I have signed a proclamation naming February 16-22 Grain Bin Safety Week.”
According to UGA farm safety expert Dr. Glen Rains, individuals who enter grain bins (for instance, to break up crusted grain that impedes unloading) should never do so alone or without someone knowing. Rains said it is best to use a safety harness with someone else outside to keep watch and who can get the individual inside the bin out if the need arises.
“It’s actually better to have two people,” Rains said. “It can be pretty difficult to pull someone out of a grain bin by yourself.”
To reduce the chances of falls when climbing, always have three points of contact with the ladder.
For tips on safe operations in and around grain bins, listen to Episode 3 of Georgia Farm Bureau’s “Growing On” podcast, which can be found here.