Safety Talks

Confined space in grain bins and silos

Confined space in grain bins and silos safety talk

Entry into feed storage areas such as grain bins and silos may be necessary for a variety of reasons such as maintenance, inspection, cleaning, etc. Entry into a space that was not designated or intended for regular work, has limited or restricted means of entry and exit, or that contains physical hazards is considered a confined space.

Possible feed storage facility confined space hazards:

  • Engulfment from grain, dirt, liquids etc.
  • Explosions from combustible dust created
  • Configuration of the space such as sloping walls and floors
  • Entanglement in moving parts such as shafts, couplings, gears etc.
  • Energy hazards such as heat, electricity, or stored (lockout tagout is required for all energy sources)
  • Noise which can be amplified in a confined space
  • Thermal conditions such as extreme heat or cold

Precautions to take when entering a confined space:

  • Turn off and lock out all powered equipment
  • Employees should never walk on grain to loosen it
  • Employees should never walk under bridging condition
  • Never walk where there is a build-up of grain products on the side that could fall and bury someone
  • Employees entering the space should have on a body harness with a lifeline
  • An observer should be stationed outside the bin/an entry permit should be issued
  • Air should be tested in the bin prior to entry
  • If poor atmosphere is detected necessary ventilation/personal protective equipment should be used
  • Minimize ignition sources through controlling hot work, electrical wiring, and design
  • Ensure all moving parts are properly guarded

Know the company policies and procedures related to confined space and follow them. It could save a life.