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Farmer 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 96MN023, 1996 Jul; :1-5
A 66-year-old male farmer (victim) suffocated after he was engulfed in corn inside a steel grain bin. The bin was equipped with an unloading auger mounted between a raised steel floor and the concrete base that supported the bin. It was also equipped with a ventilation fan designed to aerate the stored grain by circulating air through it. The fan was not turned on at the time of the incident. The victim and a semi-truck driver removed corn from the bin when they noticed that the flow of corn from the unloading auger was decreasing. They thought the reduced flow was caused by clumps of frozen grain blocking the auger intake in the bin floor. The victim climbed a ladder to an access opening in the bin roof. He entered the bin with a steel pipe to push through the corn to the auger intake. Apparently after he pushed the pipe into the corn, he broke the frozen grain blocking the auger intake. The flow of corn into the auger suddenly increased and he was quickly engulfed in the flowing grain. Approximately fifteen minutes after the victim entered the bin, the driver placed a call to emergency personnel who arrived shortly after being notified. Approximately ninety minutes after they arrived, rescue personnel removed the victim from the bin and transported him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 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. workers should follow established confined space entry procedures when entering grain bins; 3. grain bins should be identified as confined spaces and posted with hazard warning signs at all entrances; and 4. grain bin ventilation fans should be turned on and operating properly before workers enter bins which are either full or partially full.
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-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Equipment-operators; Confined-spaces; Warning-signs
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-96MN023; 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