Grain Bin Entrapments Went Up in 2019

Working on a farm is very strenuous work and can also be very hazardous. Factors like the environment, operating large equipment, and even one’s own livestock can cause injury and sometimes even death. One hazard many do not consider is being trapped within a grain bin.

In 2019, across America there were 38 documented cases of farmers being trapped in grain bins, most of these reported cases ended in a fatality. The most likely factor in these grain entrapments come from the beans/grain itself being immature.

Dr. Bill Field, a professor in Purdue University’s Department of Ag and Biological Engineering, states that when he receives calls from fire departments about entrapments, they state it is almost impossible to get to them. Dr. Field goes on to say, “They indicated that the beans were actually mushy. It was like walking through slush, and these beans were obviously put in far too immature.”

In parts of the country, millions of dollars are spent to teach first responders how to help save entrapped farmers. However, a large percentage of these calls end in a fatality by the time first responders arrive. According to Dr. Field, “Our numbers are still continuing to be the same or, as we saw last year, go up 26% even after all the effort to train firefighters. I think we’ve sort of misplaced our priorities.”

Dr. Field states that we should be more focused on the farmers and their operation. He adds that farmers should not be working alone and to educate them on safe tactics to handle the grain when it is not flowing correctly.

Dr. Field creates annual reports focused on confined space injuries and deaths, from grain bins to manure pits. For more information and to check out Dr. Bill Field’s reports, click HERE.