Monday, 25 May 2015

The Perils of Grain Auger Accidents


Caution

Every year, many of those working in an agricultural setting suffer from life-changing accidents and even fatalities. The use of agricultural machinery is highly specialised and the necessary safety procedures and working environment are a key factor in using this machinery safely and securely to minimise risks and injuries.  Grain Auger machinery is one of the agricultural world’s most at-risk devices, with injuries and deaths caused each year due to improper operations, and here is why:


What is Grain Auger?

A grain auger is a piece of machinery used in the agricultural setting to move all sorts of grain from one place to another. It employs a specific type of screw elevator to take in the grain from one end of the machinery to be lifted and funnelled out through the other end, for placing in grain bins or trucks. It takes the grain from the ground level and transports it through the grain augers’ tube safely and securely.

Grain Auger

Whilst operating these machinery accidents occur due to the improper transportation and use of the grain auger itself. Many accidents occur on a yearly basis because the grain auger has not been lowered before transportation. Many injuries and even death by electrocution have resulted from the grain auger being transported without being properly packed down and has hit overhead power lines.


Essential Reading

It is for this reason that many safety information notes, signs and manuals have been produced to help minimise this risk. It is in the interests of the safety of all in this particular working environment that when not in use, all grain augers should be lowered into its transportation position before moving. It is essential that the grain auger is kept in good working condition, with regular maintenance checks and repairs throughout its working life.

Essential Reading

Portable grain augers are one way to help minimise the risks associated with overhead power lines because they tend to be on a smaller scale and allow for transportation. Many portable grain augers include safety measures so that the device itself cannot be transported while fully vertical, this is a good innovation in the agricultural machinery industry and one which many other manufacturers can take note. Some innovative grain augers like "Meridian Swing Away Augers", has a reverse scissor lift standard on all of its models. This type of grain augers has a unique hydraulic cylinder lift which allows for close positioning to tall bins while increasing stability during transport.


A High-Risk Factor in the Agricultural Industry

It is estimated that over 200-grain auger injuries occur each year in Australia, and the government has set about trying to highlight the problem, as the risks associated with grain augers is low on the recognition scale. More needs to be done to protect farmers and agricultural workers, with funds helping to highlight the issues and risks associated with grain auger equipment high on the priority list of the agricultural safety executives.

Risk

Finger, hand and arm injuries are also a high-risk factor when using a grain auger, as it is easy for a worker to try to unblock the turning screw functions and get trapped within the machinery.


Caution, Common Sense and Safety Procedures are Key

Other risks associated include the risk of not being able to see the grain auger end if it is hidden under the grain itself. This poses multiple risks, so using the correct safety clothing and protective gear is essential and common sense should always be used when operating agricultural machinery.

As grain auger safety becomes more widely recognised, the likelihood of the injuries, deaths and accidents suffered at the hands of the grain auger are likely to fall. More is needed to be done to improve the safety of the actual machinery itself, but with a registered and trusted seller of grain augers, come a full safety manual and short training in how to operate one of the country’s most risky types of grain handling machinery.


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