It is risky to ride on grain wagons or any other equipment pulled by a tractor due to the possibility of injury. The danger of falling off the wagon when its wheel comes in contact with a bump or when it slips into a rut is factual, especially when children are involved.
Children can suffocate if they are trapped under grain that is being emptied off a gravity wagon. When the grain starts passing out of the chute, it forms a funnel that can pull the child into the opening.
If walls of this funnel crumble and engulf the child, it can cause suffocation if help is not provided instantly.
Keep children away from riding on tractors or equipment that is pulled by a tractor. Furthermore, do not allow children to climb up on gravity wagons that are being unloaded.
Watch YouTube Video: Take Steps Now to Prevent Grain Safety Accidents. This video shows how farmers can take the necessary steps to avoid accidents involving grains.
Auger Hazards for Farmers
Some of the main dangers faced by farmers using augers include being electrocuted by the electric lines overhead, getting crushed by the auger if it collapses suddenly, and getting entangled in the auger shaft.
It is not unheard of for farmers who tried to displace an auger while trying to put it in the upright position to have lost their lives due to electrocution. This occurs when the auger accidentally touches some electric lines overhead.
According to the National Electrical Safety Code, all power lines passing overhead in the vicinity of grain bins must be at a minimum height of 18 feet above the bin’s highest port. But you can mitigate the risk of coming into contact with electrical lines if you lower the auger prior to transportation.
Lowering an auger ahead of transportation can also help stabilize the unit, thus minimizing the danger of it rocking sideways and possibly tipping over.
Injuries are frequently caused when the undercarriage of the auger collapses when in use or while being transported. Fastening the auger to a truck instead of manually moving it can help prevent accidents of all types.
If the auger starts to invert, with the base lifting off the worker’s hands, move out of the way. You cannot stop an auger from toppling over if the base rises above the tool’s center of gravity.
You can prevent the auger from rocking sideways by smoothening the earth in the bin area. After the auger is positioned appropriately, both its ends must be provided with adequate support before it can be used.
Place the auger so that the top portion sits on the grain bin and locks the wheels tight.
Winches and cables
Winch or cable disasters are yet another danger associated with augers. Do not use your hands or feet to try and halt a crank handle when it is freewheeling.
Augers may sometimes be fitted with a clutch that helps prevent freewheeling. There are some types of augers that may be lowered or elevated using the hydraulic system on the tractor. Accident risks can be minimized with appropriate storage and maintenance, and the lifespan of the auger can be increased. Check regularly for damaged or worn support legs or cables and replace them.
Precautions against entanglement are necessary because an auger may swiftly tangle the operator’s foot or hand. All the shields must be maintained in place and any workers or other people around the auger should be warned about the danger of entanglement.
Do not use your foot or hand to dislodge the grain that may be plugging the auger. To loosen the plug, you may use a rod or stick. All kinds of tools or other objects must be put away to prevent anyone from tripping and falling into the auger.
Watch YouTube Video: Farm Augers – know and manage the safety risks. This video provides safety tips from experienced safety specialists and farmers working on a grain auger, which is considered one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment on the farm.
Dust and Mold Risks
Molds and dust are commonly present when the harvested grains did not mature prior to the first frost or the season of harvest was cool and wet.
Dust develops from fine particles that may occur during the harvesting of immature grains. It may cause OTDS or organic toxic dust syndrome. For people who are more susceptible, OTDS may occur just after the first exposure to the molds and dust. In some cases, the symptoms may develop after multiple exposures.
Chills, coughing, fatigue, muscle pain, fever, and in some instances shortness of breath are some of the symptoms associated with OTDS. These can start anywhere from two to six hours following exposure.
Though people start feeling better in a couple of days, shortness of breath, as well as fatigue, can persist for weeks. In severe cases, medical attention is required.
Pneumonitis can occur in humans from molds found in corn. A persistent cough, pneumonia, fever, and a drippy nose are some of the typical symptoms. These can appear within hours of exposure or take a couple of weeks to surface.
Protection against Dust and Molds
Dust masks that are designed to filter out plant mold spores and pollen can help farmers safeguard themselves. A regular painter’s mask cannot provide adequate protection from grain dust or molds. Stop using the mask when it becomes difficult to breathe normally through the filter.
Farmers who have a prolonged exposure to molds and dust may find air-purifying helmets as a better option. These helmets can deliver a constant supply of purified air. Despite their relatively higher price tag, these helmets provide more comfort to workers who need protection against molds and dust for prolonged time periods.
Employer Responsibility under Cal/OSHA
The Cal/OSHA (California Occupational Safety and Health Regulations) came into force in 1973. Barring very few exceptions, every employer in California is required by law to abide by Cal/OSHA. The safety and health plans in California have the approval of the federal government and will have precedence over the federal OSHA.
Virtually all employers as well as employees in California, including the ones in the employment of the state or a local government, are covered under Cal/OSHA. Employers who may only have one employee are also covered. For more information about the employer’s obligations in the state, click here.
Grain Auger Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a grain auger accident lawyer in Sacramento. Even though safety procedures are required for machinery and farm equipment, many elements are causing accidents too often on the farms. If you or a family member has been injured in a grain wagon or auger accident, call me at 916-584-9355 for a free consultation.
I have been helping clients in Sacramento and throughout Northern California with personal injury and wrongful death cases for 36 years. My team and I have the experience to review your case and help you receive the compensation you or your family is entitled to.
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