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A 20 year old farmer dies after entering a silo recently filled with haylage.

Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
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 92WI063, 1993 Jan; :1-3
A 20 year old white male college student who worked and lived on the family farm, died while working for a neighbor filling silo. This was the worker's fourth day at work, the farm had been in operation for 29 years. A load of fresh chopped haylage had been blown into the silo the night before the incident. The victim and the farm owner spent the morning inside the silo attempting to set up the silo unloader. According to the employer, a blower had been running in the morning primarily to cool the inside of the silo. The day was hot and muggy. They shut the blower system down at noon when they went to lunch. An hour later, the victim went up and entered the silo alone. Within minutes, the employer heard the victim cry out once and then heard nothing. The employer immediately called the EMT's who arrived 20 minutes later and went into the silo with self-contained breathing apparatus to effect a rescue. The worker was found face down inside the 64 foot silo 15 feet from the top (the silo was filled to 45 feet with haylage). CPR was done with no effect. A defibrillator provided a flat line reading. The body was removed by the fire department. When gas in air measurements were taken 4 hours after the incident, the door to the silo was open and a slight breeze was blowing. At that time oxygen level was 21%, methane 280 parts per million. The Wisconsin FACE investigator concluded that, in order to prevent future similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Farm owners should become familiar with the hazards of silos as confined spaces and adopt written safety procedures for working in and around silos. All personnel need to be trained in these procedures and required to use them. 2. Warning signs should be posted on all confined spaces. The procedures for entry should be posted where workers can see them. 3. Ventilation equipment should be used prior and during all entry into silos. Farmers need to plan the work process with worker safety a priority. The plan should include having a 2 week supply of animal food available so the haylage in the silo has 2 weeks to off-gas before anyone enters.
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; Confined-spaces; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; Warning-signs; Safety-programs; Training; Ventilation-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-92WI063; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507081
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division