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Summary of Fatal Entrapments in On–Farm Grain Storage Bins, 1966–1998

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. VOL. 7(3): 169-184 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.5441) @2001
Authors:   D. M. Kingman, W. E. Field, D. E. Maier
Keywords:   Engulfment, Suffocation, Grain hazard, Flowing grain safety, Grain bin, Farm fatalities

For over 30 years, Purdue University has maintained a national database of agriculture–related entrapment cases that have occurred in loose agricultural material. At present, 391 documented fatal and non–fatal entrapments from the U.S. and Canada make up the Purdue University Agricultural Entrapment Database. In order to specifically study fatal cases of entrapments in grain bins located on farms, the database was reviewed, 181 cases were identified using specific criteria, and the results were summarized. Approximately five cases per year were identified between 1966 and 1998, representing 18 states and one Canadian province. Entrapments were generally reported more often in the top corn–producing states and during the months of November, December, January, March, and June. In 24% of the cases in which the victim’s age was known, the victims were younger than 16. Children and adolescents younger than 16 were more often fatally entrapped in June than in any other month. For cases in which the product was known, corn was the agent of injury in 53% of the cases and was frequently found to be out–of–condition. At the time of entrapment, victims were involved with bin unloading activities in 76% of the cases in which the activity was identified. These findings are being used to design new injury prevention strategies, including educational materials and recommendations for engineering controls that focus on primary causative factors.

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