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Every Monday by
Grain Journal
Editor Kendall Trump


Grain Facility Operations: Winter Weather Advisories

Wintertime always presents some unusual challenges, and this year is no exception.

Extremely low temperatures can present some real danger. 

Here are a few tips and reminders on things to do during these times to help you and your facility stay safe:

  • Keep walkways and driveways clear of snow and ice. Slips and falls are a real danger this time of year. Keep some extra stone around to spread over ice and snow covered drives. While it won't melt the snow, it will give some traction. Sand works, as well.
  • Safely inspect grain surfaces in storage structures to ensure no snow has blown in, especially around vents.
  • Make sure your vents are clear. Snow, ice, and dust can easily clog the openings. Roof failures have been the result of plugged and improper venting.
  • Watch for snow and ice sliding off tarps and tank roofs. This can damage your fans and other surrounding equipment and poses danger for personnel working near to structures.
  • Watch your gain temperatures closely. Given grains' excellent insulation properties, even slight increases of 2-3 degrees could be an indication of issues in the future.
  • Railcar operations: Keep switches clean and tracks as clear as possible. Make sure driveways that cross tracks are cleaned, and the flange areas are clear; otherwise, it is easy to derail cars at this type of crossing.
  • Tank failures have been tied to extremely cold temperatures. I would recommend that large steel tanks should be in a "cone down" position, and ensure no grain is piled against the roof or into the trusses.

This is a critical time of year. Hazards are around every corner. Plant equipment can be difficult to operate. 

You and coworkers have to pay close attention to all hazards, and always take the time to review daily tasks to ensure everyone on your team knows the risks associated with the work at hand. 

A few minutes of time spent preparing for the day's activities can help you and your coworkers prevent an accident.





Bob Marlow, owner of Operations Professional Services (OPS), a consulting firm in Walton, IN; 765-714-9910;



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