Pull the Strings Before Working Around the Bin

Image of drawstrings that can easily become entangled in augers, PTO shafts, and other rotating equipment.

Richard Purdin, OSU Extension, Adams County ANR/CD Educator

The Week of February 21st is recognized as grain bin safety week. Many producers will be working in or around grain storage structures to fulfill marketing contracts or sell their 2020 crop to purchase crop inputs for the upcoming 2021 growing season. During this time of year producers will most likely be wearing multiple layers of clothing in the cold weather conditions. Winter clothing such as hooded sweaters also called hoodies have become very popular on the farm due to being comfortable and the ability to easily take on and off. Hooded sweaters contain drawstrings that are used to tighten the hood around the wearers face and neck. Most producers don’t think about these strings being a hazard, but they can cause severe injury or even death if entangled or caught in moving augers, PTO shafts, or other moving equipment.

Danger Zones around the Grain Bin

The grain storage structure has many danger zones or areas that can serve as high risk to one's health and well being. Loose hanging strings, baggy clothing, or other loose clothing such as necklaces or wallet chains can easily become entangled in loading augers, unloading augers, PTO shafts, and exposed belts/chains.

Maintain Equipment Shields

Shields and safety signage are placed on equipment for your safety, never remove shields unless for service or repair. NEVER lean over or step over moving PTO shafts or augers.

Educate The Next Generation

Young adults working on the farm need to be educated on areas to avoid when working around the grain bin. Never let young children play inside or outside of the grain bin structure. Remember that it is a hazardous work area and accidents can happen fast. 

Ways to Avoid Entanglement

  • Remove strings from hooded sweaters.
  • Cut strings from tattered or torn jeans, and other clothing.
  • Always wear tight-fitted clothing
  • Take necklaces, wrist bands, or other loose forms of other clothing off before working around grain bins.
  • Disengage all operating equipment and allow time for all moving parts to stop before servicing and or repairing.




Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator Adams County, can be reached at 937-544-2339 or purdin.19@osu.edu. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team. https://agsafety.osu.edu/.