Ag Health 101 Unit 6

Confined Spaces
Unit 6: Ag Health 101

Sept. 7, 2023 – This is a Working Draft

This section of our conversations on Ag Health 101 will focus on different airborne contaminants that are generated by farming operations.

Note that we will discuss exposures to pesticides and other agrichemical exposures in a different section, because we have more than just air quality concerns for these products.  In this section, we will focus on gases and particle exposures and health concerns associated with them.

Note:  This unit is complemented by the Air Quality Unit (#5).

Chapter 1: Introduction to Confined Spaces

This chapter identifies what we mean by a “confined space”.  We will walk through the list of considerations to take when evaluating a space to determine if we should prevent entry as a confined space, including atmospheric hazards, engulfment hazards, sloped floors, or mechanical/electrical hazards inside that could cause injury.

Chapter 2: Confined Space Safety:  Best Practices

This chapter identifies the six steps needed to take to prevent fatalities in agricultural confined spaces.  All these steps must be taken before allowing anyone to enter into the space.

Chapter 3: Grain Bin Engulfment

Listeners will understand that grain storage units need to be managed as confined spaces and what hazards need to be controlled prior to entry.  The processes associated with how people become buried in grain are described to highlight why the preventive steps in Chapter 4 are needed.

Chapter 4: Grain Bin Engulfment Prevention

This chapter walks you through steps to perform before entering a grain bin.  It highlights turning off grain-moving equipment, personal fall arrest equipment to be worn, air quality checks prior to and throughout entry, and attendant monitoring duties.

Chapter 5: Grain Bin Rescue Tools

You will learn about tools and processes needed for a successful rescue of someone who has been partially engulfed by grain.  Understanding whether local rescue services have this life-saving equipment should be important for farmers producing grains.

Chapter 6: Manure Storage Hazards

In this chapter, listeners will learn about hazardous gases that are a natural byproduct of manure storage.  Listeners who have completed the Air Quality unit may be more comfortable with this chapter.  We discuss that some gases linger after a manure storage unit has been pumped, so confined space precautions exist after these storage areas are “emptied” of liquids and solids.

Bonus Chapter: Gas Monitor Use in Confined Spaces

We have a brief discussion of gas monitor selection, use, and maintenance for gas exposures on the farm. Advanced courses are available on this topic, and the GPCAH can demonstrate how to use these monitors to prevent fatal exposures to gases on the farm.

Supporting Material File: Click On the Image Below to Download

September 19, 2023 – This is a Working Draft