Video: Overview of Grain Bin Safety

Today I’m sharing a video that provides a detailed overview of grain bin safety.  It’s a longer video (almost 40 minutes) but it covers pretty much everything about grain bin safety, including advice for employers.


Grain Bin Safety Week: Nationwide Grain Safety Site and Upcoming Events

Hi everyone! It’s grain safety week,  so I’m going to be covering a variety of topics related to grain handling and storage over the next few days.  To start I’d like to share Nationwide’s grain safety website (.click here to see website)  This site is a one-stop resource for grain safety. It includes articles, risk management tools, promotional tools, and grain safety activities.  There are also a few grain safety online events that are happening in the next few days.  On Tuesday the 20th there will be a live chat about grain safety on twitter as part of Nationwide’s #AgChat series (Click here for info) and on the 21st at 1:00 central time there will be a webinar on grain bin entry (click here to register and to watch videos of past webinars).  To participate in the webinar, fill out the registration form. It looks like you’ll either be able to call in using the phone number and conference call number on the registration page or click the button that currently says “Meeting has not started” to connect on your computer.

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Winter Storm Checklist

Since a lot of us have been experiencing winter storms this week, I thought I’d share some information about winter weather hazards and prevention.  I found a group of articles on Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health’s website.  The main one I wanted to highlight is their farm winter storm checklist (click here to see it in a new tab) but they have a bunch of other good winter articles on things like preventing pipe damage, dealing with ice on roofs, and using windbreaks to protect fields and livestock.  Click here to see their full list of articles.  Stay safe out there!


The Hierarchy of Controls: A General Strategy for Injury Prevention

Today’s post is going to be more theoretical than usual, but I’d like to share a quick summary of the overall approach to injury prevention that is used in engineering, public health, manufacturing and other industries.  It’s called the hierarchy of controls.  I’m sharing it because for me, it’s been a useful way to think about injury prevention, and because a lot of the specific prevention strategies I’m posting were made with this hierarchy in mind.

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The hierarchy of controls ranks different ways of dealing with a hazard from most effective to least effective.

The most effective way of addressing a hazard is to eliminate it it completely.  If the hazard is gone, no one can get hurt by it.  One example I can think of from my own experience is when we got rid of a bull that was starting to charge at whoever was feeding him.

Getting rid of a hazard isn’t always a reasonable solution. The next best thing is substitution, or replacing something that is more hazardous with something that is less hazardous.  For example, substituting a tractor with ROPS for one without greatly reduces the risk for many jobs.

If substitution isn’t possible either, the third option is engineering controls, or coming up with designs that limit a person’s interaction with the hazard. The special equipment used for storing and applying anhydrous ammonia are good examples of engineering controls.

If it’s not possible to eliminate, substitute, or engineer away the hazard, the next level of defense is administrative controls.  These are things like laws, or rules that you have on your own farm.  Administrative controls aren’t very effective because the person has to decide whether to follow the rules or not.

The least effective way of dealing with a hazard is personal protective equipment, such as dust masks, gloves, goggles, steel toed boots, earplugs, etc. Protective equipment is considered the least effective for a few reasons. Like with administrative controls, people have to decide to decide to use the equipment. For protective equipment to work, it has to be the right type for the job and it must be worn correctly (this is more difficult than you’d think). Protective equipment can  make jobs more difficult or create new hazards if it makes it difficult to move, hear, see, or if they can get tangled in other equipment.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t wear protective equipment, but it should be a backup plan or extra protection instead of your main strategy for avoiding injury.

I hope that  this general overview of the hierarchy of controls was useful. For me it’s been a helpful way to think about injury prevention.  If you’d like to learn about injury prevention strategies in more detail, here is a link to the Department of Labor’s guide to injury prevention:

Department of Labor Injury Prevention Guide



Welcome to the Agricultural Self-Report System!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the agricultural self-report system blog!  In this introductory article, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the types of articles I plan on posting. There are three main types of posts I plan on doing: reblogged content, original content, and system updates.  Here is a quick summary of each:

Reblogged content:  One of my main goals for this blog is to consolidate and share some of the existing agricultural safety and health information that is available online.  There are a lot of great informational articles, programs, and research already available, but I think people tend miss out on them because they’re spread out across many different websites. I hope that consolidating some of the information that is already available here will make it easier to find.

Original content: I’m also planning on creating some original content on a variety of ag safety and health topics.  I’d like to fill in the gaps on topics that aren’t covered in existing articles, and share some things that my colleagues and classmates have been working on.

System Updates:  These articles will present updates and results from the agricultural self-report system.  This will include things like progress reports on data collection, trends I’m seeing in the dataset, case studies, updates to the website, and other topics related to the self-report system.

I’m also open to suggestions for articles, so if there is a particular topic you’d like to see covered, feel free to Contact Us  and let us know!  Thank you for reading and I look forward to blogging for you!