• Rise in Grain Processing Plant Fatalities
  • July 8, 2017
  • Twenty-two others died in accidents involving entanglement with machinery, asphyxiation, and falls. According to a Purdue agriculture safety professor, the actual number of workplace fatalities that occurred could be higher. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) must be notified of a workplace death if the worker was hospitalized or if the farm is a large processing facility. Small farms are not required to report workplace deaths, which could mean that more grain silo deaths occurred last year that were not reported.
    Every work environment has its associated risks. Workers should become aware of these risks before accepting new jobs and make it a priority to continually learn about workplace safety and practice safe working procedures while employed. In any profession, a simple consciousness of potential injury hazards and how to avoid them can prevent severe injuries and death while fostering a workplace culture of prioritizing safety.
    Hazards Found in a Grain Processing Plant
    There are numerous ways a grain processing worker can be critically injured on the job. These involve falling from high platforms and becoming entangled with running machinery. The type of accident cited in the most fatality cases, entrapment, occurs when the worker is completely engulfed by grain and suffocates. When grain stops flowing freely out of a grain silo, a worker may need to be lowered into the silo to loosen it. This can cause a fatal case of entrapment.
    Reducing Grain Silo Fatalities
    OSHA has specific safety guidelines for grain silo workers. Workers should not be lowered into silos without observers to watch for signs of distress and a worker must never enter a silo while machinery is running. Workers lowered into silos must be tethered to escape mechanisms in the event they must be taken out.
    In 2010, OSHA launched a series of regional education programs to help farmers reduce the number of grain silo fatalities that occur. Although only facilities with more than 10 employees are required to comply with OSHA’s regulations, owners and employees of smaller operations are urged to educate themselves about the safety risks inherent to working in grain silos and adopt safety procedures that mirror those in use by larger facilities. Many of the incidents reported to Purdue in 2016 and previous years occurred at these small farms that are not covered by OSHA’s requirements.
    Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Assist Those Affected by a Grain Processing Plant Accident
    A workplace fatality can be financially as well as emotionally devastating for a worker’s family. Survivors of workplace accident victims can seek compensation for the losses associated with the death. To learn more, complete our online contact form or call 267-589-0090 or 215-512-1500 to reach the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross to set up your initial consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer. We are located in Philadelphia and serve the Greater Philadelphia area.