Every year, workers die as a result of grain bin accidents that could have been prevented if safety procedures had been implemented and enforced. Most of the injuries and fatalities associated with grain bin accidents result from suffocation which occurs when a worker enters a bin and is engulfed by grain or entering a bin with inadequate oxygen levels or when toxic gases are present.
Moving grain acts very much like quicksand. If a worker enters a bin while the auger is operating, they can be sucked down into the grain in seconds. Workers can also be quickly buried in grain if they step out onto bridged grain, which occurs when an empty space forms beneath the surface of the grain leading to a ‘seemingly intact’ pile collapsing under the weight of an unsuspecting worker.
On top of the dangers presented by collapsing grain, there are worrisome atmospheric conditions within a grain bin that pose a risk to workers also. Oxygen levels may be inadequate or hazardous gases may be present, which could suffocate a worker quickly.
Entering grain storage bins is extremely dangerous and should be limited. If a worker must enter a grain storage bin, hazard control measures must be implemented. OSHA’s Grain Handling Facilities Standard requires employers to observe certain safety standards with regard to entering a grain bin that include:
- powering down and locking out and tagging the bin while workers are inside
- providing safety training and equipment for their workers
- testing atmospheric conditions before allowing workers to work inside a bin
- creating emergency procedures in the event of an accident
Contact an Iowa Grain Bin and Agricultural Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, some employers fall short of the requirements putting workers at risk for injury or even death. If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa farming or agricultural accident, contact the Davenport Iowa workers’ compensation, and wrongful death personal injury lawyers of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for help today.