Reduce the risk of injury and loss on farms and in grain-handling facilities during the busy harvest season.

During the busy harvest season, farms and grain-handling facilities are some of the most dangerous places to work. Slips and falls from ladders, entanglements from augers and PTOs, crushing injuries from grain truck and railroad traffic, grain bin entrapment and engulfment from grain bin entry, and fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, are just some of the hazards.

People often work long hours. Seasonal workers may lack extensive training and experience. Tasks can become mundane and workers more complacent towards safety.

Farmers and commercial grain handlers can help keep workers safe and operations running smoothly by creating a safety culture or environment where everyone plays an important role in the safety of others — not just themselves.

This requires more than a few words at a monthly safety meeting. To help keep people safe and operations running smoothly, the management of grain-handling and storage assets is vital. We recommend conducting periodic walk-throughs to help ensure all safety elements are in place and in good working order. Hold weekly safety meetings, enforce safety violations and reward workers for safe performance. 



  • Clean the grounds of any debris, weeds or other obstructions that could cause decreased vision or a fall hazard for employees or visitors.
  • Ensure liquid propane lines are buried and not exposed.
  • Make sure electrical is in good condition and properly protected.


  • Make sure employees are properly trained to operate assigned equipment and know all the safety rules of your location.
  • Train employees on identifying all location hazards, including grain bin hazards. Young workers should read grain-related hazards and follow all the information contained within, and share it with parents or legal guardians so they are aware of the potential hazards related to the transporting and storing of grain.
  • Conduct morning safety meetings to keep employees updated on what’s going on and to stress the importance of staying safe during busy times.
  • Remind employees about the importance of housekeeping to decrease the possibility of grain dust explosions. Direct employees to clean up all spilled grain to prevent slip and fall hazards.
  • Require employees to follow lockout/tagout guidelines when working on equipment, and to replace all guarding after a job is finished.
  • Enforce proper grain bin entry procedures and usage of confined space and grain bin entry permit.
  • Talk with employees, especially drivers, about roadway safety. Let employees know that if they observe a driver who is not driving safely (e.g., speeding) to let you know so it can be addressed.
  • Discuss the signs and symptoms of fatigue, and ways to combat it.


  • Require all visitors to sign in and be accompanied by an employee when on grounds.
  • Require visitors to stay in their vehicles, except in designated areas.

Planning and preparation can support a safe harvest season. Contact your agribusiness risk management consultant at Nationwide at 1-800-260-1356 or email

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