Silos are designed to hold tonnes of product such as grain, sugar, flour, concrete, coal and more. That’s why it’s extremely important to empty and deep clean the silos to adhere to high standards and meet regulations such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Cleaning silos prevents build up on the internal walls and the discharge section of the silo. This helps keep the product in check and greatly reduces risk of contamination.
All silo cleaning specialists must be fully trained before entering the silo. This includes, but isn’t limited to, CPD Work at Height, CPD Confined Spaces, CIEH Health and Safety, CIEH Food Safety, British Standard (ISO) Rope Access, First Aid, IPAF, PASMA and Fire Safety.
Ensure you have the correct respiratory protective equipment (RPE) before you begin cleaning the silo. In closed silos it’s highly advisable to wear an air-fed breathing apparatus as it’s considered a confined space. We advise wearing powered or air-fed RPE as it tends to be a lot more comfortable to wear – especially for time consuming jobs. It’s a good idea to discuss what sort of RPE you’ll need with your safety equipment supplier. They will advise you on which assigned protection factor (APF) will be needed for the project – usually it’s a minimum of 20. Of course, it’s essential that all RPE fits properly – look out for leaks, tears and general damage.
As well as RPE you’ll need the following:
- Synthetic overalls (avoid knitted or cotton varieties)
- Protective single-use nitrile gloves
Potential Hazards to Watch Out For
As with most specialist cleaning jobs, silo cleaning comes with its fair share of hazards. Some of which include:
- Dust and asbestos which can cause asthma and various other lung diseases
- Exposure to harsh chemicals
- Weil’s disease caused by contact with rat urine and faeces
Before each silo cleaning begins, a full risk assessment must be conducted. This includes calculating the work required, a suitable escape route, reporting on the condition of the silo including the air quality, taking before and after images, current state of repair and noting down any infestations. Specialists can then assess how effective their work was after they finish, as well as to figure out if any further cleaning or repairs are needed.
Silo cleaning begins
The specialists will usually vacuum the silo’s interior surfaces with an anti-static hose to stop accidental explosions. If there’s mould or damp the silo will be pressure washed, if not the team will be dry-cleaned. After this, the filters are cleaned and assessed for any damage. If any infestations are found in the filers then a pest controller may be called in. Some smaller tanks that store liquids have an external water jacket, featuring an agitator that ensures the ingredients are mobile. Specialists are strongly advised to clean these silos from the top to avoid accidents.
For more information on our silo cleaning services please call 01724 282 164