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The tragedy repeatedly makes news headlines: People entrapped in grain storage bins with only seconds to react before they are engulfed and suffocated.
Understanding how people get trapped in grain bins
Scenario 1: A worker enters the top of a grain bin, and the auger begins running to unload the grain. Within five seconds, the worker becomes trapped. The flowing grain behaves like quick sand, pulling the worker down. After 22 seconds, he is completely covered.
Scenario 2: Unbeknownst to him, a worker stands on a “bridge” formed by clumped grain due to moisture or mold. Beneath the firm layer, there is a pocket of space and, when it collapses, the worker becomes buried. When unloading begins, the worker is instantly trapped.
Scenario 3: A worker is standing on the floor attempting to dislodge grain that’s accumulated on the side of the bin. The pile collapses onto the worker.
Scenario 4: Without warning, a bin can develop hazardous atmosphere or a lack of oxygen.
How to prevent grain bin suffocation
Considering it is one of the top causes of farm deaths, it’s hard to believe grain storage bin suffocation is easily preventable. But it is, as long as employers:
Information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupation Safety and Health Administration. Reposted from Secura Insurance Blog 9/19/19