Grain silo safety. Why there needs to be a safe system of work for confined spaces

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    Authors & editors

    Publisher Milling & Grain
    Year of publication 2022

    Medium Digital

    Cereal processes > Handling, storage & transport

    Scope & contentBy Dr Noel John, HSQE/QUENSH IMS Compliance Specialist, Quality, Safety & Environmental Lead Auditor, UK

    On August 1, 2014, nineteen-year-old Zach Fox tragically died after being engulfed in oil seed rape whilst trying to clear a blockage in a grain bin at Deanfoot Farm, Denholm, in the Southern uplands of Scotland.

    A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found that the system of work in place to clear blockages in the grain bin was inherently and obviously unsafe, most notably because the task could have been completed from outside of the silo.

    At Jedburgh Sheriff Court on February 22, 2016, Seamore Farming was fined UK£45,000 (US$58,700) after it pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which requires employers to protect those other than their employees, so far as is “reasonably practicable”.

    It was stated that Seamore Farming failed to carry out a risk assessment for clearing blockages in the bins at Deanfoot Farm, and also failed to recognise the risk of asphyxiation from that task.

    Read more about:
    A storage capacity of 25 tonnes
    A hierarchy of control
    Always aim to work outside
    Avoiding further fatalities


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