Agricultural Confined Spaces


On farms, confined spaces can include water tanks, truck boxes filled with grain, silos, trenches, irrigation pipes, wells, manure pits, and granary bins. In some cases, workers can be buried, crushed, or suffocated in confined spaces. In other cases, workers can be killed by toxic fumes.

Incidents involving confined spaces are almost always fatal. The brain can go without oxygen for only five to ten minutes.

It is very important that you
  • identify the confined spaces on the farm,
  • determine the hazards that may be involved, and
  • implement the proper safety controls.

NEVER work alone if you need to enter a confined space. ALWAYS have an assistant standing by, outside the confined space.

Watch the following videos on confined spaces in an agricultural setting.

Grain Bin Safety 
 
Manure Pit Confined Spaces 


Canola


Canola seeds are very small, round, and slightly slippery. When canola seeds are stored (e.g., in bins or truck beds), there is very little space between each seed. If you fall into a pile of canola seeds, the seeds are small enough that when you try to breathe, you inhale seeds rather than air.   If there's no air, you suffocate.


Hydrogen Sulphide

Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is a corrosive, poisonous, colourless, flammable, explosive gas that smells like rotten eggs. H2S is also known as sewer gas, stink damp, swamp gas and manure gas.

Hydrogen sulphide is heavier than air. In a confined space, if fills the space from the bottom up (from where you are, to where you aren't). Exposure to high concentrations of H2S is fatal. Exposure to low concentrations can damage your eyes. 

Note: Where H2S is a potential hazard, administrative controls, engineering controls, and PPE are recommended.

Click here to download the Workplace Health and Safety Bulletin PDF, Hydrogen Sulphide at the Work Site.