As we move further into the fall season, farmers throughout the northeast are filling their silos with chopped corn. Making nutritious feed for livestock is a vital task on any farm, but equally important is handling the silage safely. Because of the presence of nitrogen dioxide gases, the silo is a dangerous and possibly lethal place to enter for up to three weeks after being filled.
One way to avoid this hazard is to make sure silage distributors are adequate for the silo and properly adjusted to assure uniform distribution of silage. This will make it unnecessary for anyone to enter the silo to manually level silage during or after filling.
Silo areas should also be off limits to children and visitors during the entire three week danger period.
If someone absolutely must enter the silo during this three week period, a NIOSH-approved, self-contained breathing apparatus should be worn and the silo ventilated for at least 20 minutes prior to entry. In addition, someone should be stationed on the silo blower platform, maintain visible contact with the person in the silo, and have a lifeline attached so that he or she can pull the victim out if the person inside is overcome by silo gas.
If you are inside a silo and experience any coughing or throat irritation, get out immediately!
Please remember that the potential danger of silo gases cannot be emphasized enough. The surest way to remain safe and healthy is to stay away from the silo for the full three weeks after it has been filled.
Next week we will look at some further hazards that silos present.
Assistant Research Director, NYCAMH.
This public service announcement was produced by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), One Atwell Road, Cooperstown, New York 13326 - Ph# (607) 547-6023 or (800) 343-7527 in the northeast. Publication date: 1994.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More