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Farmer dies when grain in grain bin engulfs him.

Michigan State University
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03MI108, 2004 Aug; :1-12
On August 20, 2003, a 40-year-old male farmer entered a 49-foot diameter Chief grain bin to clear corn that had clogged the unloading holes. The bin was approximately one-half full, with approximately 30,000 bushels left in the bin. The bin was equipped with a power sweep head unit that was not running. He was standing on the grain with the augers running so he could identify the location of the unloading holes. The bin's two outside one-foot square holes were flowing. The victim may have been attempting to clear the hole next to the center hole. He entered the grain bin from the top hatch and used a 20-foot long 1/2-inch pipe to clear the plugged hole. It appears that due to the pattern of grain flowing from the unloading holes, that the remaining grain in the bin was at a 20-30 degree slope up one side of the bin. When the hole was cleared and the grain started flowing, it is postulated that the sloped grain wall sheared upon the movement of the grain at the base of the pile and the victim was engulfed. When he could not be found, rescue persons were called. After nearly three hours he was found by his brother in the bin and removed. He was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. All equipment used to fill or empty a grain bin should be stopped and the power source locked out before workers enter the bin. 2. Grain bins should be identified as confined spaces, posted with hazard warning signs, and written confined space entry procedures should be established and followed. 3. A safety harness and safety line should be used when entering grain bins if the structure is equipped with appropriate anchoring devices. 4. Grain handling facility owners should consider installing elevated grates or "chairs" over the center unloading auger openings. 5. Farmers and grain storage operators should ensure that adequate measures are taken to avoid spoilage of grain during storage and possible bridging of grain. 6. Use a mechanical raking device or a power sweep that is able to withstand high grain load to ensure grain movement within the bin. 7. Grain bin ventilation fans should be turned on and operating properly before workers enter bins which are either full or partially full. 8. Employers should provide and have in place equipment for rescue operations that is specifically suited for the task being conducted. 9. Additionally, MIFACE recommends that rural emergency personnel become familiar with confined space rescue in agricultural grain bins found on farms.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Farmers; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Confined-spaces; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment
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-03MI108; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division