It is the main ingredient of your morning cereal as well as your toast. In fact
grain is the main food of humans and domestic animals. However, these tiny
grains of goodness can also be perilous to the farmers and individuals who work
with them. Over the past thirty years several hundreds of people in Canada and
the United States have died by suffocation after becoming entrapped (caught or
buried) in grain.
The death of three farm workers by grain entrapment and the near miss of a
fourth caused WorkSafe Saskatchewan to issue a hazard alert. Workers who work
with grain - loading, unloading, or moving it - must be aware of the hazards of
flowing grain and ways to prevent becoming entrapped or buried.
There are generally three different ways workers can become caught or trapped
1. Collapse of a grain bridge
Mouldy or moist grain can clump together and form a bridge over a hollow cavity
that can collapse under a worker's weight. The worker can fall through and
become buried in and suffocated by an "avalanche" of grain. Anyone standing
under bridged grain is also at great risk of being buried and suffocated as the
bridge can collapse unexpectedly onto them.
2. Collapse of a vertical grain wall
Grain that has spoiled can collect in large vertical columns against the bin
wall. If workers try to break the grain loose, the grain can avalanche down and
completely bury them. The same fate could happen to anyone standing next to a
pile of grain on the side of the bin that suddenly collapses in onto them.
3. Entrapment in flowing grain
Flowing grain - a term used to describe the downward and out movement of grain
from a storage bin - can entrap and bury a person within seconds. When drawn
from below, grain can act like quicksand to entrap and pull a person down. When
flowing from above, grain can bury a person in seconds, especially with high
capacity loading systems. Many entrapments and suffocations have occurred in
high capacity grain transport equipment when victims are either buried during
loading from combine or storage, or drawn into the flow of grain as a vehicle
is being unloaded.
To reduce the risk of entrapment and suffocation, prevention measures include
Grain bins and trucks are hazardous confined spaces and employers and
contractors are required to take specific precautions to protect individuals
who work in or near them. Learn about, and comply with, the occupational safety
and health requirements specific to these hazards, in your province or
territory which include taking these confined space hazard control measures:
AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety