The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) is reminding farmers about the dangers of grain entrapment.

Agricultural Health and Safety Specialist Rob Gobeil says the main reason for a farmer to enter a grain bin would be to address the poor condition of the grain before shipping.

He commented on the dangers that can arise.

"Flowing grain behaves much like quicksand, so as long as the product is flowing and moving, a person or an object will sink in that flowing grain. The reverse does apply. If it's not flowing, you can walk on top of it relatively easily. You'll
sink a little bit, four to six inches probably, depending on the type of product, but you're not going to sink out of sight. Unless, there's a void underneath the surface."

Gobeil says it's important to have a second person on site, if a farmer is intending to enter a bin. That second person would be responsible for powering down the equipment and to call for help, and should never try to enter the bin to initiate a rescue.

"We'd always encourage using full protection equipment, your standard harness and lifeline, lanyard situation, hooked up to of course a solid anchor point," noted Gobeil. "Also, before entry, we'd want to ensure that the air quality is okay to enter. When the grain does go out of condition, there could be poor air quality in the way of low oxygen levels which would also put someone in danger."

He says on average, there are four or five grain entrapment fatalities every year across Canada.

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