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The danger of grain bin accidents

Farm workers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may be aware that getting caught in a grain bin is one of the most deadly workplace accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently instituted various programs to get the word out so more lives aren't lost in these tragedies. It takes only five seconds to become trapped in a silo by flowing grain and be completely unable to extricate oneself. A worker can be completely covered by grain in 60 seconds, which explains why more than half of all such accidents result in fatal suffocation.

A record-breaking corn crop was expected in 2013 by the US Department of Agriculture, but that also meant that workers handling grain in the farming industry could be at risk of death by suffocation in greater numbers than before. OSHA has sent out warning letters to over 13,000 grain elevator operators advising them of safety standards. The agency has also updated its website and has launched grain bin safety campaigns in several states.

Since 1963, more than 900 cases have been reported in which a worker was completely engulfed in grain. The number of workers killed in grain engulfments in one recent year was 26, the highest ever recorded by the USDA.

Workplace accidents caused by unsafe working conditions can be devastating. An attorney with experience in workers' compensation matters may be able to offer advice to a client who has been injured as a result of such an incident. Such an attorney may be able to determine whether the client is eligible for workers' compensation and may be able to assist in the preparation and filing of a claim.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "You Can Die in a Grain Bin in Less Than 60 Seconds", Tom Bielema, September 24, 2013

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