Three steps to safer grain storage

The fundamental approach to grain storage safety is the same as for all other farming activities. The aim is to have a safe workplace for everyone on the farm, including workers, contractors, families, visitors and the owner/managers.

Safety is a three-step process — identify hazards, assess risk and address the hazard.

Start by identifying any hazards associated with the grain storage site. Talk with workers who use the site, take time to thoroughly inspect the site and equipment and seek advice and information from industry and workplace health and safety (WHS) organisations to help identify risks that may not be initially apparent.

Secondly, assess the risk of each hazard in terms of its potential severity. If an accident occurred due to the identified hazard, would it result in scratches and bruises, or is there potential for someone to be seriously injured or killed?

The third step is to address the hazard, starting with the highest-risk hazards first. The ultimate aim is to totally remove the risk, but where that’s not possible, find a way to control it. This could mean altering the way activities are carried out or providing protective equipment.

After controlling the risk as much as possible, it is important to develop a plan of action in the event an accident does occur. For example, if a worker is exposed to phosphine gas, or another harmful chemical, ensure emergency phone numbers are readily available to get medical help.

For more information on silo safety, see GRDC’s Stay safe around grain storage factsheet or listen to grain storage expert, Chris Warrick outline the fundamentals involved in staying safe around grain storage.

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