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Grain elevator worker dies after becoming engulfed in soy beans.

Minnesota Department of Health
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 93MN007, 1993 Oct; :1-5
A 71-year-old male part-time grain elevator worker (victim) died of injuries he received after becoming engulfed in approximately 5,000 bushels of soy beans. The incident occurred in a 120,000 bushel cement grain silo. The grain elevator had a written bin entry policy, but use of personal protective equipment (i.e., safety belt or harness and lifeline) was not part of it. Three chutes on the floor of the storage silo emptied beans onto an underground conveyor transport system located below it. The middle chute was not functional at the time of the incident; there was approximately 9 feet of beans in the bin when entry took place. The victim entered the silo with a 6-inch diameter hose connected to a rented grain vacuum and began vacuuming the remaining beans into a truck. He had been in the bin approximately 3 minutes when a coworker suspected he had become engulfed in the beans. Emergency medical personnel were summoned and the victim was recovered near the silo entry hatch about 20 minutes after he was discovered missing. Beans were about one foot over his head. Despite resuscitative attempts, he died the next day as a result of his injuries. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to prevent similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. post warning signs at entrances to confined spaces containing stored material; 2. provide lifelines and harnesses, and ensure that workers wear them before entering confined spaces containing unstable materials; and 3. evaluate retrofitting grain storage facilities with mechanical leveling or raking devices to minimize the need for workers to enter grain storage bins.
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; Protective-equipment; Confined-spaces; Warning-signs; 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-93MN007; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division