Here we offer you a review of the risk factors during silage production and how to prevent accidents.
There are many risk factors associated with silage making, which may potentially cause a serious injury or fatality and hence threaten human life and safety. In Britain alone, for example, there were 9.12 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2015. This is significantly higher than in any other industry and 6 times higher than in construction. Safety rules should therefore be implemented to ensure that all workers understand the risks associated with making silage. Below is a review of the major risk factors and ways in which they can be eliminated.
Producers should avoid harvesting during unfavourable weather conditions, particularly if crops such as corn, sorghum, small grains, and Sudan grass are used. Periods of droughts followed by heavy rainfall – as well as damage from frost and hail – can lead to increased nitrate uptake by these plants and that can lead to the production of an orange, toxic silage gas. Thus, it is recommended to wait a 4 to 5 days.
Silos must never be overfilled as this greatly increases the chance of a tractor overturning when filling or rolling a silo. Nobody should go underneath a silage cover once the cover has been fixed in place. The fermenting grass uses up the oxygen in the air under the cover very quickly and at the same time, the level of harmful gases increases rapidly. These gases include carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Anyone going under the cover when the covers have been fixed in place risks death due to asphyxiation. In tower silos with crops containing less than 30% DM, silage effluent could be a problem. The effluent may produce toxic gases such as hydrogen sulphide, which represents a serious health hazard.
ISO/TC 293: international standards for feed equipment
Here we offer you an overview of the ISO/TC 293 standards for feed machinery and an update on which standards are currently under development.
Numerous gases including nitric oxide are produced during the first 2 to 3 weeks of the harvesting, filling and ensiling periods. Nitric oxide changes to nitrogen dioxide when it comes into contact with oxygen in the air. When inhaled, NO2 dissolves in the moisture on internal lung surfaces to form nitric acid. This strong acid burns the pulmonary membrane tissue, effectively stopping the supply of oxygen to the body and can thus lead to sudden death. Prevention includes adequate ventilation and proper respiratory protection. Individuals who survive acute exposure should be closely monitored by their physicians.
Protecting workers from hazardous minerals
In the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluates the efficacy and the safety of additives before they can be authorised for use in animal feeds by the European Commission.
Once it’s time for the silage to be fed out, the structure presents many dangers, which can easily be avoided if the following measures are taken:
References are available from the author upon request.