Grain Auger Safety
The first important rule is to ensure that everyone
who operates an auger knows and understands the risks before operating the
equipment. It only takes a few minutes to look over your equipment before
turning it on and saves a lifetime of regret. Here are some important tip
provided by The Canadian Federation of Agricultural published for Canadian
Agricultural Safety Week (Fact Sheet #1, March, 2007).
Always leave shields in place. When shields
are in place and undamaged, there is much less opportunity to become entangled
with moving parts. Likewise, intake screens at the base of the auger help
prevent hands and feet from becoming caught between the auger screw and tube.
Keep children away from operating grain augers!
Start grain augers safely.
A safe auger has a clutch and starter. Some older
grain augers are powered by small gasoline engines that don’t have a clutch or
starter and are started by pulling on the vee-belt drive – AN EXTREMELY UNSAFE
PRACTICE.! This method is a clear invitation to injury as the a person can get
caught in the belt and pulley. Augers with this start-up procedure should be
retrofitted with a clutch and starter, either rope or electric.
Empty the auger before stopping it.
An empty grain auger is always easier to
start than a full one. It is also safer. A full or partially full auger may be
top-heavy and can flip if moved, causing injury to the operator or bystanders
and damage to the machine. Except in emergency situations, always let the auger
rattle empty before stopping it.
Be careful when moving augers. Always look up!
Overhead electric power lines are commonly found at many bin sites. When an
auger comes in contact with overhead electrical wires and your body or the
machine that you are driving completes the circuit to the ground, there is
likely to be an electrocution. Always look up when moving grain augers, and
whenever possible, have someone else watch the power line clearance.
Adjust grain auger height carefully. There is
a limit as to how high a grain auger can safely be raised. Most augers have a
track that the upper supports slide on as the height is adjusted. Many augers do
not have stops at the ends of the track. When the upper supports come to the end
of the track or guide, the auger may come down – fast! Fatal injuries have
resulted from this type of situation. Install stops at the ends of your auger’s
track if they are not there. Never raise an auger beyond its recommended height
– use a longer auger if more height is needed.
Don’t try to grab the crank. If the
height-adjustment crank should get out of your grasp while adjusting the auger,
do not attempt to stop it or grab for it. LET IT GO! Many broken arms and wrists
have resulted from attempts to grab a spinning crank.
Set up carefully and block the wheels. A
grain auger can roll or move as it is running and fills with grain. Always
secure grain augers in place by placing blocks in front of and behind the wheels
to prevent it from moving. Anchor the bottom end of the auger to the ground,
too. The auger must be placed on level ground and completely stable if it is to
Other Precautions. Be sure to wear close
fitting clothing when working near a grain auger. Loose, floppy clothing and
long bootlaces will easily become entangled in rotating parts. Entangled
clothing will pull the body into the moving machinery and severe injury will
Limit the number of people around the auger when in
use. Only those who are essential to the job should be there – no visitors or
Always stop the machinery when debris (straw, chaff,
etc.) begins to be a problem. Never use your hands or feet to remove debris from