From dust explosions to deadly engulfment, OSHA wants grain farmers to increase caution

Local News

From dust expolosions to deadly engulfment in grain bins, grain farmers have to be prepared for anything. 

Over half of the time, when a person falls into a grain bin, they do not come out alive.

The Asmark Institute Agricenter in Bloomington walked farmers through different dangerous scenarios that grain farmers experience and give advice on how to remain safe while working in grain bins.

Most deaths that occur in grain bins happen when someone enters alone, and most of the time when rescue squads arrive to the site, it’s too late.

“We’re going into springtime.  Farmers are going to start going into fields and a lot of them are probably going to be emptying their bins so this is that time that things happen,” said Dave Newcomb, Agriculture Rescue Program Manager for the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

“We average 50 engulfments every year in the United States, seven out of ten happen on the family farm, six out of ten are not successful rescues.  Last year we actually had three in the state of Illinois.  Two were fatal, and we did have one successful rescue,” said Newcomb.

OSHA and the National Grain and Feed Association partnered together to bring awareness to farmers when working on their farms.  The ultimate goal of the training is to save lives.

“Agriculture in Central Illinois is the main industry, if you will.  And it’s an environment that we work around a lot of equipment and have a lot of exposure, potentially and so we really want to heighten the awareness and safety for all our employees that work in our industry,” said Industry Chairman for the National Grain and Feed Assocation Eric Wilkey.

Newcomb says if you do enter a grain bin to not go alone.  He also says to lock and tag out all equipment, so that it does not start moving the grain while you are inside the bin. 

Lastly, he says to have a proper harness on while working in any grain bin.

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