If you recall, a previous post discussed a fatal accident that occurred in a grain bin. Two young teenagers were killed while trying to do their job. OSHA fined the owner of the grain elevator after finding that workers were not provided safety gear and were not properly trained.
Even two years ago, a similar incident occurred when a teenage boy fell into a grain bin in Colorado and suffocated to death. The company was fined more than $1.6 million for serious safety violations. Now more concern has been raised about workplace injuries in the grain business and how companies are responding.
A recent study conducted by the Agricultural Safety and Health Program at a major public university showed that 2010 was the most dangerous year for grain entrapment cases. Research shows that it was due to poor grain storage conditions. According to the study, 51 instances of grain entrapment were recorded in 2010, with 26 of them resulting in fatalities.
The grain entrapment incidents often occur when grain is packed tightly, which frequently occurs when supplies are low. Poor conditions the year before caused lower amounts of grain in 2010, thus increasing the chances of grain flow issues.
When there are issues with grain's movement, employees have to go and rake through the grain to improve the grain flow. One of the professors involved in the study said that grain buildup is likely to cause grain entrapment, especially under current work practices.
When a work accident occurs, employees can suffer serious injuries as a result. In those instances, workers may be entitled to workers' compensation. These benefits can actually help an injured worker financially as he or she recovers.
Source: High Plains/Midwest AG Journal online, "Old crop grain means more safety headaches," Larry Dreiling, 08 April 2011