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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 98MN055, 1999 Jan; :1-5
A 76-year-old male farmer (victim) died after he was engulfed in corn inside a steel bin. On the day of the incident, he used an auger to remove corn from the bin. The bin was equipped with a drying system that included an electric fan to force air into the bin. The fan was not turned on at the time of the incident. The bin had a roof access hatch that was accessible from an exterior ladder attached to the side of the bin. The bin was equipped with an auger tube mounted horizontally within the concrete base of the bin. The bin was being emptied by a portable auger that had been inserted into the auger tube and was running at the time of the incident. Although most of the corn was in good condition, some of it had spoiled due to moisture that apparently entered the bin near the edge of the bin roof. Along a portion of the bin's inside wall, spoiled corn was stuck to the wall and did not collapse as the bin was emptied. The victim climbed the exterior bin ladder and entered the bin, apparently to break up the spoiled corn that was stuck to the wall. The spoiled grain apparently collapsed and engulfed the victim. The victim's wife was working in the farm yard and became concerned when she did not see him in the area of the unloading equipment. She placed a call to emergency personnel who arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They cut holes in the bin to empty it and discovered the victim. They removed him 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 empty a grain bin should be stopped, and the power source locked out, before workers enter the bin; 2. workers should follow 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. rain 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; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; 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-98MN055; 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