INDIANAPOLIS — A leading cause of farm-related fatalities is grain bin entrapments.

The Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program is one of the only institutions that work with grain bin entrapments.

“Indiana ranks No. 1 in total cases of grain bin accidents. Why? We’re the only one that goes out and gets the numbers,” said Purdue Extension safety specialist Bill Field.

According to a document put out by Field and the rest of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program, there were 19 grain entrapments reported in Indiana in 2012.

Steve Wettschurack, a farm accident rescue instructor for the Breaking New Ground Resource Center at Purdue, said he believes there are as many incidents related to grain bins in Illinois and Iowa, but they are just not documented.

To help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that happen due to grain bin entrapments, he has taught more than 60 classes on proper crop storage, conducted dozens of public safety events and helped develop informative exhibits for the Indiana State Fair.

Wettschurack said Purdue has taken the approach of being really overwhelming with safety tips concerning grain bins.

Another concern that needs to be addressed is farmers who have the mentality that no harm will come to them because they have been farming their entire lives, he stressed.

Quite often, he said, he and his colleagues hear producers say they have performed a task, such as moving grain, thousands of times and everything will be fine.

“That statement, that they’ve done it a thousand times, needs to go away,” Wettschurack said, adding that farmers need to be safe each and every time they enter or work with a grain bin.

Another incident that can occur with grain bins is a worker becoming trapped in a floor auger that didn’t have a grate covering it.

Field noted that the end result in almost every case related to auger accidents is amputation of the individual’s leg.