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Farmer engulfed and suffocated in soybeans during unloading of steel grain bin.

Iowa Department of Public 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 05IA020, 2008 Dec; :1-5
Mid-spring 2005, a 64-year-old lifelong farmer died in northeast Iowa when he was engulfed and suffocated in soybeans inside a cylindrical, steel grain bin on a farm he rented. He had entered the three-quarters full bin while the truck driver outside manned the high-capacity auger which conveyed beans from the bin to his semi-truck trailer. Concerned about the farmer's whereabouts when the flow of beans stopped, and unable to quickly find him, the trucker summoned emergency assistance. A Sheriff's Deputy was first on the scene in thirteen minutes, ahead of local volunteer fire/rescue personnel from two nearby towns. Area farmers responded, too, with torches to cut openings around the bin and assist in the hour-long rescue attempt. The farmer was pronounced dead at the scene. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Never enter a grain bin while it is being unloaded and never unload a grain bin while someone is inside the bin. 2. Apply safety signs along grain bin access ways and, if the bin must be entered, use confined space entry procedures and recommended equipment. 3. Store and maintain grain in proper condition and break up surface crusts or material sticking to bin walls from outside the bin.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Agriculture; Farmers; Grain-elevators; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-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-05IA020; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008460
Priority Area
Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division