March 2, 2011

Podcast: Grain entrapments a serious issue; farmers, farm workers urged to exercise caution

In this podcast, Curtis Rohrich, a farmer from Woodriver and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, talks about the dangers of working in and around grain bins.

He notes that a lot of farmers store grain in bins on their farms – in Nebraska, on-farm grain storage capacity is 1.1 billion bushels. Capacity nationwide is 12.5 billion bushels and expanding every year thanks to continued advances in corn production.

On-farm storage, though, requires some precautions when filling, emptying or working in or around a bin. "Statistics for farmers and farm workers becoming engulfed in grain are sobering," he said.

According to figures from Purdue University, through November 2010 there were 52 cases of grain engulfment or entrapment nationwide for the year. Of those, 35 happened on a farm. Of the 52 total grain engulfments or entrapments reported, half resulted in death.

The numbers recorded in 2010 were the highest in a single year since records were kept. The reason behind that makes sense because the number one reason that leads to entrapment is out of condition grain, and there was a lot of out of condition grain put into bins in 2009. Lower quality grain leads to more incidents because farmers need to enter bins more often to get grain flowing or clean out lodged grain.

Other items behind entrapment include high capacity grain handling systems, working alone, relaxed compliance with safety regulations or simply a lack of knowledge concerning risk, Rohrich. "This is especially true for young people," he said.

For more, listen to Rohrich's report by clicking on the icon above - or click here to visit a previous post on this subject and to check out a grain bin safety video produced by the National Corn Growers Association.

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

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