Grain dryer fires present a daily, ongoing risk for certain agribusinesses, such as biodiesel and ethanol plants, but harvest season extends those hazards to encompass many more operations.
Losses in a grain dryer fire aren’t limited to dryer equipment and grain. Grain dryer fires can also result in considerable downtime, which could force your customers to take their business elsewhere. When that happens, customers could be lost for the season or an extended period of time — maybe forever. The direct and indirect costs associated with dryer fires can be extensive, so precautions should be taken at every step.
If addition to pre-season inspections, regular inspection during operation, maintenance and other necessary housekeeping tasks, we urge you to adopt a daily routine to help prevent the chance of grain dryer fires.
Each day make sure you…
- Follow manufacturer’s operator manual.
- Utilize properly trained operators.
- Inspect grain flow in columns to ensure columns are full and flowing properly.
- Sample grain regularly during outflow to monitor grain temperature, moisture and grain conditions to ensure proper drying results.
- Do not let foreign material (FM), “bees wings”, dust or debris accumulate inside, outside and around the dryer chamber.
- Inspect, look and listen on a regular basis during operation.
- Do not bypass dryer controls or sensors.
- Complete a thorough inspection of the dryer following each shutdown.
- Keep portable fire extinguishers nearby and follow an emergency action plan should a fire occur.
It’s important to coordinate your emergency planning process with experts from inside and outside your operation. Be sure to include your operation’s safety director or manager, a Nationwide Agribusiness risk management services representative, the local fire department, and if possible, a representative from the dryer manufacturer. And, regularly train all those involved on the action plan to control fires and maintain worker safety.