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Truck driver suffocates after being engulfed in shelled corn inside grain storage bin in Ohio, January 24, 1991.

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 91-12, 1991 Jul; :1-13
The case of a 43 year old male truck driver who died after being engulfed in shelled corn inside a grain storage bin was investigated. The employer was a commercial trucking company which did not have a written safety policy, safety program, or established safe work procedures. The truck driver was engaged in hauling approximately 12,000 bushels of shelled corn from a grain bin on a local farm to a nearby commercial grain storage silo. The grain bin was 32 feet in diameter, 20 feet high and constructed of corrugated galvanized steel with two access hatches, one on the side 2 feet above the bin floor, and the other on top near the edge. After loading and unloading the truck a few times successfully, the corn stopped flowing out of the storage bin. The victim entered the top of the bin, inserted a pipe, and began probing the corn to get it flowing again. The grain bin auger was still running. He pushed the pipe through the approximately 12 feet of corn remaining in the storage bin several times but could not get it moving. Suddenly the corn began to flow, pulling the victim down with it, suffocating him. It was recommended that safe work procedures be developed and implemented for working in or near confined spaces containing unstable materials and that lifelines and harnesses be provided to ensure that workers can be pulled from these spaces should there be a problem.
NIOSH-Author; Region-5; FACE-91-12; Accident-analysis; Work-practices; Confined-spaces; Truck-drivers; Agricultural-products; Agricultural-machinery
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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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