• Take Time for Grain Safety | Guest Blog by AgriSafe

August 27, 2018

written by Linda Emanuel, AgriSafe

Anticipating harvest season is a feeling many of us share.  My memories of harvest are full of unique stories, twists and turns, disappointments and celebrations, conflict and compassion, aches and pain, love and family.  If you produce grain you may experience the magical transformation of a seed into grain, grain into final harvest.  It is an all hands on deck mindset and the adrenaline rush keeps us working until harvest is complete.


Now is the time to prepare yourself and your farm to ensure a safe harvest. AgriSafe is a national non-profit that is focused on Protecting the People who Feed the World. Our resources and training can be the difference between a healthy lung and Farmers Lung.  Grain particles may be small but they are mighty.  The small size which is less than 10 microns is what we don’t want in our lungs.  Grain dust contains many harmful contaminants i.e. insect parts, fungi, molds, spores. If you change one thing this fall during harvest, make sure that everyone is wearing a NIOSH approved respirator.  Each employee needs a mask with a correct fit.  Check out AgriSafe’s simple Respirator Selection Guide to help you make an informed decision. 



Take a mindful minute, what safety items are secured on your farm’s checklist?


  1. Clothing hazards- pull out those drawstrings on hoodies, check for loose or tattered edges on clothing that may be easily caught in running power take-offs (PTO’s).


  1. PTO/Grain augur shields- are appropriate covers in place?


  1. Are you following Lock Out/Tag Out protocols? For more information click here.


  1. Grain Bin Safety- Entrapment vs Engulfment- Entrapment occurs when an individual is submerged in grain above the knees. Engulfment occurs when the body is completely submerged due to flowing grain, crusted grain or a grain avalanche.


  1. Preventing muscle strains- long days of incessant vibrations, awkward postures, and repetitive movements contribute to back, shoulder, neck and leg pain. Check out our basic yoga exercises to incorporate into your field days.  Ease those aches to be ready to physically farm! 


  1. Protecting Farm Children- establish safe zones, correlate the work according to the intellect of the child. Family and friends want to help during harvest. Let them! Childcare during those intense weeks is a must.  You cannot farm safely if you are burning the candle on both ends.


Taking these steps could prevent serious injury and harm to our workers, our loved ones and ourselves.  Organizations such as the Grain Handling Safety Coalition and AgriSafe offer a number of free training options to help with grain operations. These trainings have and will save lives. Grain safety rescue training is also available for community fire departments.




Farm fields are quiet right now but will quickly transform this harvest season. Our senses will respond to the LED lights of heavy farm equipment, the clatter of grain wagons, augur flighting, bin fans and humming engines.  We work on this amazing land.  Let us harvest this fall knowing that we prepared our bodies, ourselves to the challenge ahead and the memories to be made.



Funding for AgriSafe’s Women in Ag Initiatives is provided by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, NIOSH AFF Grant U54 OH010162.

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