Children and grain handling don’t mix

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Aerial view on three combine harvesters gathers the wheat at sunset. Harvesting grain field, crop season. Vertical view on harvester in the partly harvested field, diagonal composition.Summer, Europe.
Grain bins can pose as a hazard to young children. Learn what steps you can take to help prevent tragic grain bin accidents involving young workers.

Keeping children safe while grain bin handling

Working in and around grain is dangerous even for experienced, trained adults. It’s never a job for children.

Accidents involving the youngest members of farm families show the danger of the youngest members of farm families working around stored grain. Incidents like the death of an 11-year-old boy by silo fumes and the death of a 13-year-old boy after falling off a grain bin are sad reminders of the dangers of children working around grain storage and transportation equipment.

Accidents like these could have been avoiding by following safety guidelines from the Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC). The GHSC Position Statement for Youth Working with Grain recommends no youth under age 18 be near or inside any grain storage structure when being loaded or unloaded. All structures like grain bins and silos should be completely empty of grain, if children are around or near them.

Stand T.A.L.L. to prevent accidents

The GHSC encourages young people to Stand T.A.L.L. to help keep themselves and others safe when working around grain bins and buildings. The program helps young workers to become informed about the dangers of such work through four steps:

  • Talk – about the job, what training is needed and who will supervise
  • Ask – questions and help when uncertain
  • Learn – how to recognize and avoid workplace hazards
  • Live – and go home to family and friends at the end of the day, alive and injury-free

Training is a must for any young person who will work in and around empty grain bins. Stand T.A.L.L. resources help young workers understand jobs or tasks and encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand a task or are uncomfortable performing it. See more materials to engage young farmers in the safety conversation.

Get trained adults involved in the process

It is just as important to train adults who will be supervising or working with young workers. Adults should always be supervising younger workers, assigning jobs, being watchful for hazards and providing all necessary personal protective equipment, supervision and training.

Stand T.A.L.L. materials can be easily adapted for adults and can also be used with young workers and adults together.

Here are more resources for keeping children safe around grain bins

If we all work together, everyone working around grain storage bins and buildings can go home at the end of the day injury-free and ready for a new day on the farm.