Conditions In The Bin – Safety While Checking Your Grain

Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

As the combine is tucked back in the machinery shed and harvest is complete, taking safety precautions should not fall by the wayside when checks on the condition in bin become a part of the routine. Some of the biggest safety concerns present in grain farming are located at the bin. Slip, trip, and fall hazards are prevalent. Engulfment can happen in seconds. Combustible or toxic environments can be hidden to the naked eye. Entanglement and amputations can happen at the storage facility even after harvest season has been completed.

Follow these safety tips when working in and around grain storage bins:

  • Frequently check ladders and stairways attached to the bin for needed repairs.
  • Make sure guards are in place on all equipment.
  • Turn off and lock out all equipment.
  • Ensure no grain is being moved into or out of the bin.
  • Test the air within a bin prior to entering.
  • Use a N-95 mask when working in a bin with grain.
  • Wear a body harness with a lifeline when entering a bin.
  • Utilize a farm employee or family member to act as an observer outside the bin when entering.
  • Do not walk down grain to make it flow.
  • Never enter a bin if there is the potential for bridged grain.
  • Account for any items you take into a bin and ensure return to the outside so bin equipment does not later become clogged.

For more information about OSU Ag Safety, visit or contact Lisa Pfeifer, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-9455.