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
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.