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AG Law: Grain bin accidents are 100% preventable

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death

Blog Category:
1/10/2013
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The title is sort of an unrealistic conclusion because being able to stop 100% of any type of accident seems a bit unrealistic. This conclusion is according to the extension office of the Mississippi State University. The article discusses accidental deaths by suffocation while working in a grain bin. The article reminded me I still have that article to write about grain dust explosions. I'll get to it but just not today. Grain dust is combustible and it's a part of storing grain. With grain dust moisture has a way of clumping corn and other grains in a way that clogs or slows the unloading process. The process isn't without issues. The clogged grain is a problem for farmers who under tight schedules climb into bins to free the bridge, when the bridge breaks, the farmer can be consumed by an avalanche of corn, quickly succumbing to suffocation. It sort of reminds me of walking across a glacier in the French Alps, the ice bridge collapsed and I went down with it. You see a nice shiny glacier, but it's a lot different than you realize. The surface you look at is full of crevasses (holes) that get covered over with ice and snow. The ice and snow covering over the crevasse is called a bridge. And when you walk across the glacier you walk on any number of bridges. They aren’t marked, so you get roped to other climbers so when a bridge collapses you don’t just fall to the bottom. You climbing buddies hit the deck and halt your decent. Just like the ice bridges collapsing, when the clumped corn finally breaks, down you go. But unlike iced walls of a crevasse, corn kernels quickly cave in causing suffocation. In a crevasse you have time for fellow climbers to pull you out, not so in a bin of corn. Maybe you should rope off to the bin roof so you can pull yourself out. Here is what they said in this article.

“A person can be entrapped within seconds. Because many farmers work alone and are not required to use safety equipment, the danger is even greater.

“I always say the first rule of entering a bin is don’t ever go into a bin,” Ward said. “Since that is not realistic, I tell people never to go in a bin alone. Make sure someone knows you are in there. Make sure the augers are turned off, locked and tagged with a note letting others know you are in the bin. Make sure the fans are turned on to keep fresh air circulating.”

Ward said a three-person team should work on the problem: one at the top by the door, one on the grain wearing a safety harness or rope, and one on the ground to get help if needed.”

Now that sort of makes sense doesn’t it?

Grain bin accidents are 100 percent preventable

Mississippi State University Extension, Updated: 11/19/2012



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