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Agriculture Risk Advisor

Agriculture Risk Advisor

Second Quarter 2019



This quarter's Agriculture Risk Advisor newsletter provides tips for safe grain handling and safety tips for aging farmers.


Agricultural workers are at a serious risk of injury or death when installing, climbing into, fumigating, entering, filling or emptying a silo. Because of the nature of the conditions present, workers may be exposed to hazards such as a lack of oxygen, toxic gases and grain entrapment.

To reduce worker risk of injury, properly train workers and remind them frequently of the following safety recommendations:

  • Avoid entering a silo unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Complete tasks outside of the silo whenever possible.
  • Have a coworker close by in case of an emergency.
  • Never smoke or cause sparks near a silo, especially if the air humidity is low.
  • Wear respiratory protection when appropriate.
  • Stand at a safe distance when filling or emptying a silo.
  • Use an approved fall restraint system and harness when climbing a silo.
  • Ventilate a fumigating silo before entering.
  • Conduct regular safety inspections of silos.


While an experienced and active senior workforce can be beneficial, older farmers generally carry a higher risk of workplace injuries. Seniors often have to deal with physical factors that decrease their ability to perform tasks that were once routine. These changes can affect reflexes, quickness and accuracy while performing farm chores and operating dangerous machinery.

As such, it’s important to instruct older workers to consider the following safety precautions to limit their risk of serious injury:

  1. Exercise caution when working in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Older workers tend to be affected by extreme temperatures more than their younger co-workers.
  2. Take breaks regularly, as fatigue can lead to injury.
  3. Use safety devices like handrails and guards on equipment.
  4. Make an effort to minimize vibration when using tools or equipment.


For more farm and ranch safety tips, contact ISU Cunnington & Associates today at