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Farm worker asphyxiated in grain silo in Indiana, November 1, 1986.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 87-39, 1987 May; :1-5
A 52 year old farm worker entered an oxygen limiting silo through the top opening and was asphyxiated. He was employed on a privately owned farm with one full time and one part time worker. The farm had no written safety program with safety matters being left up to the individual workers. The owner of the farm and his full time employee were filling an 80 foot high silo with alfalfa silage. In the afternoon the owner told his worker that he was leaving for a while but would return later. When the owner was gone, the victim was to clean up the silage around the silo being filled and put away the equipment. The part time employee arrived an hour later, but could not find anyone around. He went to get help, and on returning noticed a 10 foot ladder located under the ladder permanently attached to a silo filled the day before. The father of the part time employee found the victim in the silo, lying about 10 feet from the opening. According to the coroner's report, the victim was probably overcome by nitrous-oxide (10024972) fumes, fell into the silo, and suffocated as a result of aspiration of plant material. There was a significant degree of conflict between the coroner's report and the probable sequence of events and it was recommended that personnel evaluating this accident should rethink their conclusions. It was also recommended that comprehensive policies and procedures be developed by the employer for confined space entry.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-87-39; Region-5; Farmers; Confined-spaces; Toxic-gases; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; Vapors
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division