By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
Growing up on a farm can be a very rewarding experience. From a young age, children have the opportunity to receive a first-rate agricultural education, learn responsibilities, gain a strong work ethic, and value our dedicated farmers. Unfortunately, with access to chemicals, animals and large equipment, farms can also be a dangerous playground for curious, unsupervised children.
The Progressive Agriculture Foundation is a proud supporter of Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety Week. Along with Nationwide, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program is committed to reducing the number of preventable injuries and deaths associated with grain handling and storage.
Grain safety is a very significant topic taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days each year. In recent years, 36% of our Safety Days had a grain safety component offered. From identifying the difficulty breathing underneath grain to observing how grain flows and how quickly entrapment can take place, participants have the opportunity to take part in a variety of hand-on activities and demonstrations. The following key safety areas are emphasized with all Safety Day participants:
- Always stay out of flowing grain. A very sobering fact is that it only takes 5 seconds to become helpless in flowing grain and within another 10 seconds a person can become completely submerged.
- Never walk or play in or around stored grain.
- Never enter a grain bin, wagon, or truck.
- Never enter a grain bin while the unloading auger or suction tube is operating.
Another important issue when it comes to grain safety is to avoid confusing children by sending mixed messages. At places like pumpkin patches and local parks, sand boxes have been replaced by corn. A young child will have trouble understanding the difference between grain in a corn box and grain in a gravity flow box that could engulf them in seconds.
In addition to reinforcing the importance of staying out of grain, Safety Days also teach participants what to do in case of an emergency involving grain. These safety tips include:
- Turning off any equipment that is causing the grain to flow or move. This will stop the person from being pulled further underneath the grain.
- Always assuming the victim is alive and take the necessary measures to help the situation. This may include turning on aeriation fans and assuring dryer heat is turned off.
- Calling for help immediately and never attempting to pull someone out of grain on your own. Many professionals including firefighters, paramedics, and EMT’s have been trained to properly use grain bin rescue equipment. With rescue tubes and training as the theme of this year’s Grain Bin Safety Week, we hope that even more fire departments in rural areas will receive the proper training and equipment to aid in a successful rescue.
These grain safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. This year, more than 100,000 children & adults will participate in a Safety Day within their local community. Learn more at http://www.progressiveag.org
Photo: A Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® participant in Eastern Iowa realizes how much force holds people in grain by attempting to pull an object out from the grain filled container during an entrapment activity.