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Farm youth dies after being engulfed in corn inside a steel grain bin.

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 95MN045, 1995 Oct; :1-6
A 13-year-old male farm youth (victim) died of injuries sustained after he was engulfed in corn inside a steel grain bin. The bin had an oval door on one side that was fitted with both an interior door that opened into the bin and an exterior door that opened to the outside. The interior door had a square discharge opening that was used to allow corn to flow from the bin when it was being emptied. A steel ladder was fastened to the side of the bin and provided access to an opening in the bin roof that was located along the side of a steel ladder fastened to the bin roof. The victim and his father used a portable auger to remove corn from the bin. A semi-truck was parked beneath the discharge end of the auger. The victim's father started the auger, opened the small discharge opening and began to remove corn from the steel bin. The victim climbed the steel bin ladder and opened the cover to the roof opening. He remained seated on the roof ladder and observed the corn being removed from the bin. About fifteen minutes after they began unloading the bin, the victim's father walked to the truck and drove it forward so the rest of the truck box could be filled. When he exited the truck, he noticed that his son was no longer sitting on the bin roof ladder. He climbed the bin ladder but could not see his son when he looked into the bin. He returned to the ground and saw a tennis shoe come out of the small discharge opening. He stopped the auger but was unable to open the interior bin door due to the force exerted against it by the corn. He used a tractor equipped with a front end loader to attempt to puncture the bin but the loader broke when it struck the bin. He ran to the farm house and placed a call to emergency personnel. Emergency personnel arrived shortly after being notified and used power saws to cut several holes in the sides of the bin. The victim was removed from the bin and transported to a local hospital. Later he was air lifted to a major medical center where he died two days later. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. workers should not position themselves near grain bin access openings while a bin is being filled or emptied; 2. workers should follow established confined space entry procedures when entering grain bins; and 3. grain bins should be identified as confined spaces and posted with hazard warning signs at all entrances.
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; Farmers; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Confined-spaces
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-95MN045; 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