“I would recommend a grain elevator deal with millwrights who have been in the industry for awhile and have the proper training with things like working in confined spaces, CPR and forklift operating,” Paxson suggests.
Thompson says elevators should inquire about a millwright’s track record and ask for references before doing business with them.
If experience is king, then reputability comes with a certificate of insurance. Should you choose to work with a firm that is not insured, you’re taking a gamble with more than the quality of the work.
“If something does happen, you need to know you can survive if something happens,” Paxson says. “If the millwright isn’t insured, you could be out of business for a period of time — and that’s very critical in the grain industry. If you have someone working for you, you want them to do a good job and work safe and be insured and have the equipment to get the job done.”
“Adequate insurance is a must for any construction company,” Blackford says. “Our industry is different from others because we work at elevated heights in all kinds of weather and with flammable and explosive materials. An experienced work force is needed and training for new hires is important. We work continually with our insurance company in loss prevention and employee training.”
Engulfment and dust explosion prevention is always a concern, but accidents do happen, and if the millwright is at fault, a well-insured firm will save the grain elevator from financial liability. Prior to working with a millwright, request an insurance certificate.
“Rarely is poor construction at fault for these accidents, as much as negligence on the jobsite in an existing facility,” Paxson says. “If an incident occurs, you want to make sure liability insurance is covering those things.”
Most importantly, millwrights offer solutions, and operators should use them as a resource, a third party to evaluate what needs to be improved.
“We’re all in this together,” Andler says. “If the elevator and feed plant isn’t profitable, it isn’t going to do me any good. Everybody has limitations. Sometimes you put in the best equipment in the world, but if you don’t have good people working for you, none of that will matter.” ¦