Silos on Farms Create Dangerous Situations

A New Brunswick farmworker died of his injuries after entering a corn silo. WorkSafeNB’s investigation revealed that when the employee entered the silo through a manhole access door his leg got entangled in a moving auger.

The investigation also found that the interlock on the access door was not installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The interlock was designed to stop operations when the silo door was accessed. Furthermore, it was found that the employer did not identify the silo as a confined space and did not follow the regulatory requirements around confined space work, including air testing, not allowing the employee to work alone in the silo, lockout, and other safe work procedures.

WorkSafeNB determined the primary causes of the accident to be:

  1. The silo was not identified as a confined space and, as a result, lockout and other safe work procedures were not followed.
  2. The interlock, designed to stop operation when the access door was opened, was not installed.

Actions for Operators:

  • No employee is to enter a confined space until a competent person designated by the employer takes the necessary action to render the space safe.
  • When lockout is required, there must be a procedure in place and employees must be adequately trained and provided with the necessary tools to conduct the work safely.
  • If lockout is impractical, a code of practice is required.
  • Safeguard interlocks provided by the manufacturer must be installed and maintained to ensure they are working properly.
  • Since interlocks are a secondary safeguard, they are not a substitute for de-energizing and locking out equipment.
  • When working on or around moving machinery, employees must take steps to ensure that their clothing, PPE, hair, jewellery, etc., does not get caught in the equipment.
Always Remember – Silos Create Hazards!

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