A 69 year old southwest Iowa farmer died in a grain bin accident on September 28, 2010. He reportedly was assisting neighbors in loading grain and may have entered the bin when the auger became clogged. One person was injured attempting to locate him.
Tragic and preventable grain bin accidents take the lives of Iowa grain workers every year. Moving grain behaves much like quicksand, typically trapping persons standing in the grain in less than six seconds. Even standing on stationary grain can present deadly hazards, since grain adhering to the interior walls of bins can collapse and suffocate, and the surface of the grain can conceal cavities that may collapse and engulf workers. With record harvests and wet weather, the hazard of suffocation significantly increases.
Dr. William Field, a professor of agricultural engineering at Purdue University who has provided expert testimony in an Iowa grain suffocation case brought by Brady Preston Gronlund, has extensively studied the causes and prevention of grain suffocations. According to Dr. Field, critical safety rules include locking out power to all types of grain handling equipment, using safety harnesses, never standiing on moving grain and never entering a grain bin without a second person who is properly equipped to provide assistance in the event of an emergency.