Grain augers are an essential piece of equipment in the agricultural sector. They feature a long tube that transports grain from the ground into grain bins - one of several uses. While that poses no threat to farmers and their employees, the long, screw-shaped shank is certainly a hazard.
The shank is the part that does the hard work as it turns to help the grain move upward to the tube. Unfortunately, there have been several mishaps in the past where workers have sustained injuries while working with the shank. As a result, augers have become one of the most dangerous agricultural machines on a per-hour-of-use basis.
You should note that most accidents occur because of operator errors. Furthermore, the two types of accidents that happen while using grain augers are electrocution and entanglements. The reasons for injuries include:
Coming into contact with or becoming entangled with the screw on the intake side of the auger.
Getting caught up in the drive belt.
Exposure to the unguarded blade as the auger rotates while drawing up the grain.
Raising the grain auger is so high that it comes into contact with the power lines.
One of the main reasons these accidents occur is the lack of safety mechanisms, such as intake screens and shields, that can drastically reduce the possibility of coming into contact with rapidly turning machinery.
Tips to Avoid a Grain Auger Accident
Every farmer relies on their workforce to generate crops and revenue. The last thing you’d want is an injury to an employee. Not only does that set you back in production, but you need to take care of their medical concerns. Ultimately, it will affect you financially. However, when you take active steps to avoid grain auger hazards, you can be confident of your team going about their duties safely.
Ideally, you want to prevent outsiders, including children, from entering the area near the auger. It would be best to install proper barriers to prevent auger accidents.
Before the operator of the auger commences work, they should have all protective shields in place and ensure they’re in good condition. You can also place guards on some augers, adding protection.
If you’re attempting a service or repair of the auger, you must shut off the power to the machine and its source. Locking it out ensures that it won’t turn on during the repair, and tagging the switch indicates that you’ve disabled the power.
To prevent entanglement, farming staff can’t wear any jewellery or loose clothing. Furthermore, anyone with long, untied hair shouldn’t be operating the machine.
Before your team moves the auger to another location, they must lower it to a horizontal position and be aware of the positioning of power lines before raising the auger.
Always ensure there’s solid footing when working around the auger. If you have a portable machine, place it on dry, level ground or a gravel pad. Once you’ve turned off the auger, you can remove spilled grain between loads.
Grain augers are crucial to farmers, so it’s wise to enforce some safety protocols to avoid hazards and accidents.