Purdue report documents farm confined space injuries nationwide

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University’s Agricultural Health and Safety Program released the 2020 Annual Summary of Agricultural Confined Space Injuries and Fatalities in the United States. The program reported 64 fatal and non-fatal cases involving agricultural confined spaces, including 35 grain traps, seven falls into or from grain storage structures, four asphyxiations and 12 equipment entanglements.

The total number of cases is a decrease of 4.5% from the number documented in 2019, but the total number of agricultural confined space cases this year exceeds the five-year average and the number of mining-related deaths reported in 2020.

“As well documented in previous annual summaries, there is a direct correlation between poor grain and an increased likelihood of worker exposure to entrapment situations,” the report says. “Never enter a grain silo that shows signs of crusting on the surface or inside the grain mass. If the grain is crusted or the outlets on the ground are clogged, contact a professional grain salvage service who has the equipment and experience to remove damaged grain.

Purdue’s Agricultural Health and Safety Program has been monitoring grain storage, handling and transportation incidents for 40 years using sources such as news reports, web research, personal interviews and voluntary reports from extension educators and individuals. Despite the lack of a comprehensive or mandatory agricultural incident or injury reporting system, the group aims to raise awareness of agricultural injuries and fatalities in order to develop safety mitigation strategies.

Full grain safety report and resources available online.

Writer: Abby Leeds, 765-494-7817, [email protected]

Source: Bill Field, 765-494-1191, [email protected]

Agricultural communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Head of Department, [email protected]

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