Targeted awareness during one week in February each year highlights year-round efforts and awareness of grain storage and grain entrapment rescue.
In 2021, Grain Bin Safety Week ran from February 21-27, and although the national awareness week has passed, those who work on these efforts realize that the need for grain storage safety and rescue measures never passes.
Paul Stevenson, feed and grain senior risk management consultant for Nationwide, leads the grain bin safety week efforts—efforts that span the calendar year.
“In 2014, we (Nationwide) started the advocacy program,” Stevenson says, sharing that he assumed leadership of the program in 2015. “And we started it not as a Nationwide program, but as a way to bring attention to an industry problem.”
Across the agriculture industry, there is no shortage of communication devoted to the lack of grain bin safety and the lives that are lost each year. However, the solution to the problem—an awareness of grain bin safety and the rescue solutions that save lives—isn’t always sharing a front-and-center stage. Why? Because it’s a complex problem and the solutions are just as complex. Shining light on those solutions is where Nationwide and the numerous partners who contribute to the advocacy effort move the needle to bring people home to the supper table who would otherwise be victims of grain entrapment.
“It’s not just grain bins,” Stevenson says, “It could be a grain bin, an upright concrete, a flat storage structure, it could even be an open grain pile that kills someone. That’s why the first part of training is knowing the hazards.”
Stevenson says that more than 45 articles have been created to help identify grain storage and handling safety risks, and shares that education is key and always the driver of the advocacy program.
The other component of Grain Bin Safety Week is highlighted by the rescue tubes Nationwide helps to place in the hands of rural emergency response teams across the country.
“We award rescue tubes through a nomination process. The rescue tubes are a tool; the augers are tools, and you can’t use tools safely unless you go through some training. So that is the other component of the Grain Bin Safety Week program. We have teamed up with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety to provide training on how to use every piece of equipment. We never give away a rescue tube or rescue auger to a fire company without providing the training on how to use those tools,” Stevenson says. “We are putting them (the rescuers) in harm’s way if they don’t know how to properly use the tools we provide them.”
Today, the Nationwide Grain Bin Safety Week advocacy program has awarded 152 rescue tubes and training to rural rescue teams in 29 states. Those tubes and training are directly credited with saving four lives that would have otherwise been lost to grain entrapment.
On January 1st of each year, the contest opens to nominations and runs through April 30th. Winners are notified in July and training is scheduled at the winner’s convenience.
Rescue equipment can also be provided through the generous sponsorships of program partners. These sponsorships enable a business to target sponsorship dollars to a location of their choice to guarantee their local rescue teams are equipped to save lives from grain entrapment.
To learn more about both the nomination and sponsorship awarded rescue tube and training, visit www.mynsightonline.com/grain-bin-safety or reach out to Paul Stevenson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see this CoffeeTalk and a rescue tube and auger in action, visit the AGI Community News page.