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Two feedlot workers suffocated in grain bin.

Nebraska Department of Labor
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 99NE016, 1999 Jun; :1-8
A 23-year-old mill operator and a 20-year-old maintenance technician were killed when they were engulfed in corn in a 6,000 bushel cone bottom gravity feed bin at a feedlot. The two individuals had been "knocking down" soy bean meal in a gravity feed bin next to the corn bin prior to the incident. For some reason, after their work in the soy bean meal bin they went to the corn bin and both individuals became engulfed in cracked corn. Both of these bins were active, flowing soy bean meal and cracked corn into a "clam" approximately once every five to ten minutes. The "clam" was then emptied into feed trucks. When the corn flowed from the bin, this pulled the victims under the corn. When others at the feedlot realized the two were trapped in the corn, they cut openings in the bottom of the bin to release the corn and rescue the victims. Both individuals died from suffocation. The Nebraska Department of Labor Investigator concluded that to prevent future similar occurrences employers should: 1. ensure a permit is issued prior to entering bins. 2. ensure all equipment which presents a danger to employees is locked-out, blocked-off, or otherwise prevented from operating. 3. ensure employees are wearing appropriate fall protection anytime they are exposed to a fall into a bin or silo. 4. provide and have in place equipment for rescue operations which is specifically suited for the task being conducted. 5. develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive safety program that includes, but is not limited to, training in all hazard recognition and abatement. 6. consider installing locks on all accesses to bins and silos and controlling the keys to the locks. 7. consider installing phones in close proximity to bins and silos which are normally entered, or providing teams entering bins and silos with cell phones or two-way radios to provide communications to the mill operator.
Region-7; 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; Safety-programs; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Grain-elevators; Grain-elevator-workers
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-99NE016; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-709864
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Nebraska Department of Labor
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division