Bin safety system designed to prevent farm accidents

With Northern Strands’ grain bin fall protection system, users attach their harness to the traveller (located above the bottom step in this picture) with a snap hook. Users will then move the traveller up the cable as they climb the bin, and it locks on the cable where it was last placed. So if the person climbing slips, they will stay at the height of the traveller. | Robin Booker photo

LANGHAM, Sask. — Bin sensing technology and grain level indicators mean most farmers today should be able to make fewer scrambles up to the tops of their bins.

That’s good news because climbing bins can be a dangerous job, especially if it is windy or there is frost on the ladder.

However, some farmers still feel the need to make the climb to examine their crop more closely.

For example, some growers believe the smell test, where they climb to the top of the bin to put their head in the fill-hole to smell for heated grain, is an essential tool to reduce grain-storage spoilage.

To help mitigate the risk of this dangerous task, Northern Strands of Saskatoon has developed a grain bin fall protection system.

“We’ve designed our anchor at the top of the bin with a life line on it to the bottom rung of the ladder to make sure you’re safe, all the way to the top of your bin so that you can do whatever you need to do,” said Dave Perrin of Northern Strands.

Northern Strands produces industrial safety equipment and it demonstrated its grain bin fall protection system at the recent Ag In Motion outdoor farm show near Saskatoon.

Perrin put on a harness, climbed a steel grain bin, let go of the ladder and let the harness hold his weight.

“It’s as simple as taking your snap hook, hooking onto your traveller, and going up your ladder,” he said.

As you go up, you try to keep the anchor point above our head.”

The anchor system can be in-stalled by bolting the top plate in line with the ladder near the opening at the top of the bin.

“The installation is extremely simple. It consists of drilling 10 holes and then adding your nuts, bolts and washers. We’ve actually added a rubber washer on the underside of our plate to make sure the weather doesn’t get into your product,” Perrin said.

The cable is anchored at the bottom ladder of the bin, so when the bin needs to be climbed, the cable is there waiting for the user to attach their harness to the traveller on the cable with a snap hook.

The fall protection system better protects users from falling off or into a grain bin.

It could also help employers provide a safer work environment.

“Our anchor is engineered and designed to withstand extreme loads. In case of a fall, the bin will not be damaged, and most importantly we will save a life,” Perrin said.

Northern Strands’ fall protection system is not available for all bins. Click here to see if your bins are compatible.

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