Safety standards upgraded for Canadian grain augers

Canadian manufacturers of portable grain augers have a new national standard for equipment safety to work into their product designs.

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) on Monday reported the release of a new standard, developed over "several years" by the iconic Canadian Standards Association (CSA) through its agricultural machinery technical committee.

Most of the upgrades worked into the CSA auger standards relate to the design of the intake guard and the auger driveline, said committee member Jim Wasserman, an engineer with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) at Humboldt, Sask.

"Those are the areas where most injuries take place," he said in CASA’s release. "The standards team has now come up with practical options to prevent a hand or foot from contacting the rotating flighting without restricting product flow."

For example, he said, a retractable intake guard is now an option in the new CSA standard.

The guard can stay in place for "most operations," Wasserman said, but "in unique situations, it can be retracted and alternative safety precautions put in place."

It could take "a couple of years" before producers see the results on the market, CASA said, but auger manufacturers are getting set now to work the new standard into equipment designs. CSA has published the national standard for sale online.

The standard covers both conventional and swing-away portable farm augers, as well as some related accessories such as hoppers, winches, wire ropes, pulleys, and hydraulic lifting systems.

The new standard also references all recent standards that relate to guarding auger drivelines and PTOs, CASA noted.

The standard does not extend to related equipment such as drag augers, bin sweeps or other augers that don’t have wheels suitable for towing on public roads.

Statistics from Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting show augers are second only to tractors in their involvement in machinery-related injuries on the farm, CASA said.

That "alarming" statistic triggered CASA to help fund the development of the new CSA standard, Wasserman said.

The technical committee, which includes farmers, manufacturers, regulators and researchers from Canada and the U.S., considered research results, member experience and similar standards in the U.S. and Australia, CASA said.

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