Silos and Their Risks: Working in Confined Spaces at Height

Silos and Their Risks

Working in confined spaces and working at heights are hazardous. On farm silos are one area that presents both of these health and safety hazards. 

Entering silos from either the base or the top of the silo presents serious health and safety risks, either through engulfment inside the silo or falling from heights when climbing up the side.

What is working at height

Working at height is when a person can be injured falling from one level to another. 

What you should know:

  • The Health and Safety Act requires business owners to take reasonable steps to prevent harm from occurring when working at heights 
  • A risk assessment should be completed to ensure the safety and necessity of the action before anyone climbs up the side of a silo  
  • The correct training and equipment should be provided to ensure there is no risk of falling before a worker climbs up the side of a silo

Working inside a silo

Working inside of a silo is considered a risk of working in an enclosed space not intended for human occupancy. A silo presents the risk of engulfment and subsequent suffocation from materials such as grain, sand, flour, fertiliser and sawdust.

It is the business owners role to:

  • identify any hazards 
  • where possible, eliminate or minimise the risk to anyone in the workplace

Silos and their risks – steps to ensure worker safety:

  • Provide correct training for all workers on farm
  • Isolate contaminants ensuring the atmosphere is free of toxins
  • Ensure machinery such as augers are inoperable while workers are inside the silo
  • Have emergency procedures in place which have been communicated to all on farm

For a further information head to WorkSafe NZ’s Working at height in New Zealand 

Health and safety packages

Health and safety is not about telling you how to run your business, it is about helping to  equip you with the right advice on keeping your workers, your family and you safe while at that place of business.  For more on health and safety packages read here. 

Compliance Partners offers mobile health and safety, occupational health and human resources advice to local business. Call us 0800 249 7233

  • on January 24, 2021