August 27, 2017

28/08/2017: SCAFCO Grain Systems to offer “Grain Entrapment Prevention Kits”

In response to the rise in preventable fatalities from grain engulfment, SCAFCO Grain Systems Company will begin offering grain entrapment prevention kits for the entire line of flat bottom bins and a majority of larger hopper bottom bins in the near future

In the past ten years, the number of grain entrapments on farms and in commercial grain storage facilities has increased. Purdue University Professor, Dr. William Field, has tracked these mostly preventable accidents for more than thirty years.

Over the past 50 years, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported, and the fatality rate is 62 percent. The worst year in recent history was the 2010 grain storage season, in which there were over fifty grain entrapments and twenty-eight fatalities.
SCAFCO Grain Systems

Dynamics of entering grain bins
People enter bins for a variety of reasons, but the predominant reason for most entrapments has been “out of condition” grain that won’t flow to the centre discharge point. People enter the bin to attempt to dislodge the blockage, and many times the grain collapses under them or starts to flow rapidly to the discharge opening, drawing the person inside the bin into the grain mass, where they become entrapped or completely engulfed by stored grain.

Often, a contributing factor in these accidents is failure to shut off the unloading auger or conveyor. A simple safety rope attached to the person inside the bin may not be enough to restrain the person from being entrapped in grain. It is very difficult for the attendant standing outside the bin to restrain the weight of the person inside the bin if the grain flow or collapse of a hidden dome pulls him down into the grain.

If the trapped person is engulfed above his knees, he cannot extract himself from the grain mass and requires assistance to prevent further engulfment. Like quicksand, flowing grain can pull a 165-pound man down to waist level in seconds and bury him in less than a minute. Once grain gets above the knees, the amount of friction and pressure exerted on a person’s body makes escape without assistance nearly impossible.

The group working on safety standards
The Grain Elevator & Processing Society (GEAPS) had campaigned for awareness of these rising numbers of fatalities before 2010, but after that devastating season, they became more aggressive in their efforts to educate the grain storage industry about the hazards of grain entrapment.

They also pursued training for fire department rescuers of personnel trapped inside grain storage structures. For the past nine years, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has partnered with GEAPS in an effort to provide a consensus standard for grain bin entry in order to prevent grain entrapments. This effort focused on the bin manufacturers to design bins with tools to assist those who enter the bins to deal with grain that has gone out of condition.

The group met periodically and was comprised of engineers from grain systems companies, industry and university experts. Engineers from Behlen, Brock, Chief, GSI, MFS, SCAFCO, Sukup, AGI/Westeel, Sioux Steel, Hutchinson Mayrath, and Green Galvanized Stairs participated in the group. Industry and safety representatives from Star of the West Milling, NGFA, SATRA participated, and an OSHA representative was consulted. University representatives on the committee included Dr. Carol Jones of Oklahoma State University, Dr. William Field from Purdue University, and Dr. Bob Ahern of the University of Illinois. SCAFCO’s Daniel Wambeke, P. E., has lead this group for the past five years.

The committee has authored a proposed standard, X624 Grain Bin Entry, which has undergone many revisions. The final ballot to obtain consensus agreement will take place soon. The focus of X624 has been to prevent grain entrapments.

There are several basic rules recommended for persons entering the bin to prevent grain entrapment:
1. Never enter the bin unless you believe there is no other way to solve the storage or unloading problem.
2. Always shut off all filling and discharge augers and conveyors. The industry byword for this rule is “Lockout-Tagout,” and must be followed in commercial operations according to the requirement of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
3. Never enter the bin by yourself. Always have an “observer” watching you outside the bin to assist you in case problems develop.
4. Use a “bin entry kit.” This kit consists of a quality personnel harness, an approved safety rope, a prusik rope brake and a knot-passing pulley.
5. The “bin entry kit” is to be used with the new grain entrapment prevention anchor points that North American bin manufacturers are starting to provide their customers for installation in new or existing grain storage bins.

Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the SCAFCO Grain Systems website, HERE.

The Global Miller
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