Safety Alert — Avoid ‘Caught-In’ Accidents At The Tarp Roller

Editor’s note: Safety is always the No. 1 priority at a cotton gin. Like other gin organizations, the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association is proactive in supporting safety efforts by providing guidelines for keeping gin workers safe while on the job. Here are some recommendations TCGA offered regarding powered tarp rollers in its December “The Ginnery” newsletter.

There have been three accidents where employees were caught in the tarp roller in West Texas member gins in the last three weeks. All three have resulted in broken arms that required surgery.

Unpowered, hand-cranked rollers are safer than powered rollers; use them where possible.

Safe Use Of Powered Tarp Rollers

Here are our recommendations for use of powered rollers:

• Install a spring-loaded switch that requires continuous pressure for the roller to operate. Knee-activated switches are the best option we’ve seen.

• Tarp rolling is a two-person job, so assign two workers. Tarps are heavy and bulky. When they are cold, they may be more difficult to start on the machine. Accident investigations indicate workers are not able to free themselves or cut power to the machine when they are caught. A second worker present may be able to prevent severe injury.

• Train employees in tarp roller operation. Remind them not to defeat the safety devices. For example, we have found spring-loaded switches tied closed, wedged to keep the contacts closed or wired-around.

• Gloves have no place around the tarp roller. If gloves must be worn, cut off the fingers of the glove so the tips will not be caught in the roll.

• No loose clothing should be worn around powered tarp rollers. Sleeves should be buttoned, shirts or jackets buttoned or zipped and clothing tails tucked in.

• Monitor activity at the tarp rollers, including operation and the condition of the switches. We recommend that supervisory employees from the manager on down make a point of checking the rollers at least once each shift.

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association provided this information.

2019 Ginners School Coming Up Soon

The Ginners School will be offered at three locations in 2019. Cooperators for the school include the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, the National Cotton Ginners’ Association and its member associations, the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated, gin machinery/equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and select land-grant

stoneille ginners school
More than 5,000 #cotton ginners have been trained at USDA ARS’ Stoneville Ginners School since 1985 — photo courtesy USDA-ARS

The school sessions are for the exclusive use of the U.S. cotton ginning industry. All courses are offered in English only. Registration and classes begin at 8 a.m. and end each day at 5 p.m. Lunch is served at the school and is included in your registration.

Locations And Tentative Dates:

Southwest Ginners School
April 1-3
South Plains Ginning Laboratory
1604 East FM 1294
Lubbock, Texas

Western Ginners School
May 7-9
Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory
300 E. College St.
Mesilla Park, New Mexico

Stoneville Ginners School
June 4-6
USDA Ginning Research Laboratory
111 Experiment Station Road
Stoneville, Mississippi

Course Descriptions

Each level of Ginners School coursework is built on the previous level of instruction, with Level I as the foundation. Therefore, the school’s coordinators strongly recommend that beginning students, regardless of gin experience, start with Level I.

Level I
• Introduction to cotton ginning and ginning demonstration
• Basic gin safety
• Basic hydraulics
• Air utilization
• Electricity at the gin
• Maintenance and adjustment for seed cotton cleaners, fin stands and lint cleaners
• Maintenance of auxiliary components
• Classing cotton
• Moisture measurement
• Review of the cotton industry
• Waste collection and disposal

Level 2

• Purpose and operating principles of individual gin machines
• Efficient operation, adjustment and maintenance of gin equipment
• Pneumatics and waste collection
• Electrical systems
• Hydraulic systems
• Gin safety
• Management tips
• Roller ginning (Western School only)

Level 3

• Review of functions of a ginning system
• Electrical systems
• Air systems in the gin
• Drying and moisture restoration systems
• Matching machinery capacities in the system
• Seed cotton unloading systems and management of seed cotton handling systems
• Bale presses and hydraulic systems
• Safety programs and labor regulations
• Cottonseed handling systems
• Roller ginning (Western School only)

Continuing Education

The 2019 continuing education schedule is being developed and is different for each of the three schools.

To maintain your certification, you must complete 12 hours of continuing education credits over a three-year period. For example, if you received your certification in 2016, to remain in good standing in the program, you will need to complete your 12 continuing education hours in 2019.

• Continuing education course work will be offered each year in conjunction with the annual Ginners School. Each hour of participation at the NCGA-sponsored continuing education course work will receive 1 credit hour.

• Beltwide Cotton Ginners Conference participation provides 1 hour credit for each hour of participation.

• Re-taking Ginners School course work (Levels I-III) will also provide continuing education credit.

•  Participation in local association schools, workshops, seminars and trade shows may be eligible for continuing education credit. An agenda and participation form must be submitted to the National Cotton Ginners’ Associations. Upon review, any continuing education credit hour(s) will be assigned to the participant.

Contact Harrison Ashley ( or Jana Jackins ( with the NCGA if you have questions. For registration information, motel guides and maps, go to

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