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Grain Bin Safety

>>AMY SUSAN: Hi, I'm Amy Susan, Communications Director for the Missouri Department of Labor. As part of our farm safety podcast series we're talking about the importance of grain safety, and I'm joined here with Ron Hayes of the F.I.G.H.T. Project. Tell us a little bit about that program and why it's a good partnership with farm safety.

>>RON HAYES: Well we started it after our son was killed in 1993 to help the families who are with the workplace fatalities all over the United States. We focus on grain and grain safety because that's how Pat was killed. He was suffocated in the grain bin; sixty tons of corn fell on him and it took me about a year and half to find out how long he died because everybody said, "Well, he died quick." Well I kept saying well how quick's quick? Because as a parent you're thinking about your child and saying you don't want them to suffer, you know? So it took me about a year and half. I found out it takes ninety seconds for a six foot two inch man to die in a grain bin. So ninety seconds to suffocate in, under the corn or soy beans or concrete, anything in a silo or a bin. So that's why we started the F.I.G.H.T. Project, to help educate. Because I think that's how we fix the problem because we educate folks.

>>AMY: Why is the project or endeavor Farm Safety a good, seems to be a good fit for the F.I.G.H.T Project and why you're here today?

>>RON: Well just because I believe in education and training and hands on and that's why this is so good because you've got all these examples and the kids can see it. You can sit there and tell somebody all day long, but if they can't visualize it or picture how it works, they can't understand. But here they walk up and you're showing them the grain flow. You're showing them how to pull somebody up out of a bin and they get it. You know, it clicks immediately.

>>AMY: What is the leading cause to a grain bin-related injury?

>>RON: Well it's just basically the suffocation and the collapse of the grain. You've got to know the structure of the grain, and people just see-soybeans, they dry differently than corn does. Sawdust. People wouldn't think that sawdust-concrete in the silos you see, it collapses and what happens is the moisture, you know? So it's the chemical reaction. So a farmer doesn't only have to be manually, he has to be mentally astute at these processes and most of the old timers know about it, but the young folks coming up. That's why this is so good with the kids. Showing these kids what can happen, you know? And then they ask their dad. They'll say, tell me this. Tell me about this, you know? And the dad gets shocked because the kid just asked a question, you know? But then they'll talk about it, so maybe by talking about it, everybody learns and everybody's on the right page.

>>AMY: So tell us about-what is this right here?

>>RON: This simulates trying to pull a person out of a grain bin, and it shows you need four hundred pounds of force to do that. So an average man of about a hundred and sixty five pounds, it says right here on the front, if he's halfway buried it's going to take two hundred and thirty five pounds of pressure to pull him up. Once they get past their shoulders and head, you're not going to pull them out, you know, unless you've got a crane overhead to pull them out and then by that time they're going to be dead.

>>AMY: Well thank you Ron for joining us this week and sharing your story with us. If you all have any other questions, comments, or concerns, you can visit and thank you to our partners in safety.