Safety is a year-round requirement. Once it’s time for the silage to be fed out, the structure presents many dangers, which can easily be avoided by staying out of high-risk areas and remaining vigilant when working in, and around, silage structures.
- Never work in or near a silo, bunker or pile alone: bring a buddy to keep an eye on you.
- Wear safety vests while working around silage and operating equipment.
- Maintain communication and visibility with a buddy in a safe location when working on, or in, a silage structure.
- Install guardrails on above-ground level walls.
- Use equipment operating from the ground level to remove spoiled silage from the surface of bunkers and piles.
Figure 1. Never Work Near Silage Alone and Wear Safety Vests.
- When on top of a silage pile, stand no closer to the feedout face than 6 feet.
- Use caution when removing plastic, tires, tire sidewalls, and/or gravel bags from bunker silos and drive-over piles, especially near the walls and edge of the feedout face.
- Always use caution when working on top of the silage bunker or pile.
Inspecting and Sampling Safely
- Do not take core samples if the feedout face is more than 8 feet tall.
- Never allow a person to ride in the bucket of a front-end loader to take samples from the silage feedout face.
- When sampling silage, take samples from a loader bucket after it is moved to a safe distance from the feedout face.
Create a Safe Silage Face
- Do not “pitch” spoiled silage. It is simply too dangerous to remove spoilage from the top of bunkers and piles. Only remove spoiled silage with equipment operated safely from ground level.
- Use proper unloading techniques, which includes shaving silage down the feedout face.
- Never dig the bucket into the bottom of the silage. This can create an overhang.
- Never drive the unloader parallel to, or near the feedout face of an over-filled bunker or pile.
Maintain a Safe Distance
- Never stand closer to the face than 3 times its height.
- Never park vehicles or equipment near the feedout face.
- Post warning signs to ensure visitors and bystanders observe these rules.
The following 8-minute video is intended to make producers aware of the ever-present dangers when working around silage storage structures, and re-enforce good practices to reduce risks on their operations.