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Farm worker dies after being engulfed in wheat in semi-truck box in Minnesota.

NIOSH 2001 Jun; :1-4
A 19-year-old male farm worker (victim) who worked as a truck driver died after he was engulfed in wheat in a truck box. The truck was a belly-dump semi-truck. The victim and coworker each drove semi-trucks that were full of recently harvested wheat to a farm site. The victim stopped his truck at a bin site and together the two workers prepared to unload the truck. At the bin site were several grain augers that were used to transfer the wheat from the trucks to storage bins. The intake end of an auger known as a swing auger was mounted on small rollers and was rolled into position under the unloading door of the rear compartment of the truck box. The workers then removed a canvas cover from the top of the truck. Then they started the unloading augers and partially opened the unloading door of the rear compartment. After the wheat began to flow from the truck they climbed a ladder mounted to the back of the truck and sat on the edge of the truck box. While they sat on the edge of the box and watched the wheat flow from the truck, the victim entered the box and walked in the flowing wheat. When the truck box was about one-third emptied the victim realized he was being pulled into the wheat. The coworker grabbed the victim's hand but was unable to pull him from the box. He climbed down the ladder on the back of the truck, closed the unloading door and stopped the auger. He climbed the ladder to help the victim but found that he was completely submerged in the wheat. The coworker yelled to others at the farm site and a call was made to emergency personnel who arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They administered oxygen to the victim while they freed him from the grain. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. workers should never enter grain hauling equipment or a grain storage structure when the equipment or structure is being emptied; 2. all grain handling equipment should be stopped and the power source locked out before workers enter grain hauling equipment or grain storage structures; 3. the grain box of grain hauling equipment should be identified as a confined space and posted with hazard warning signs; and 4. inexperienced workers should be provided comprehensive safety training for all work tasks and associated hazards.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Agricultural-workers; Training; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-products; Agriculture; Equipment-operators; Farmers; Truck-drivers; Trucking; Transportation-industry; Transportation-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-00MN036; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health