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Control the chaos of harvest

The following information is provided by Nationwide, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.1

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. 


  • Check and repair loose ladders, platforms, handrails and steps to prevent slip, trip and fall hazards. Be sure to check for midrails and toe boards on all platforms.
  • Follow all manufacture recommendations on maintenance. Also see steel bin storage annual checklist, concrete storage construction checklist and pre-season grain dryer inspection and maintenance checklist.
  • Ensure all guarding is in place.
  • Replace or repair any protruding objects on bins or buildings that could cause injury or create a trip hazard.
  • Make sure all grain bins and other confined spaces are properly marked with appropriate signage.  


  • 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.

For more farm safety resources go to If you are a Nationwide policyholder, you can get even more safety information by logging into Nationwide self-service and clicking on the MyNSightOnline link. To learn more about Nationwide, visit

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Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Home Office: One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH. The Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National logo are trademarks of American Farm Federation and used with permission under license by Nationwide. Nationwide, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2020 Nationwide. 1 Source: 2018 SNL Financial Report. Based on statutory data.