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The Illinois Department of Labor is using Farm Safety Week to remind farmers of the potential hazards related to grain bins.
Illinois OSHA Director Ben Noven offered some reminders about grain bin safety.
“Always remember to turn off and lockout or tag out all powered equipment to the grain bins.” Noven said.
There could be a potential for disaster if power is still on to the grain bin while a worker is inside.
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There was a total of 30 cases nationally of grain entrapment last year. Half of those were fatal. There were two instances reported last year in Illinois. The statistics are compiled every year by the Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program.
Noven said moving grain inside the bin can be fatal. He said the grain can act like quicksand.
"A worker standing on moving grain can be trapped in about five seconds," he said. "Within 30 seconds, a worker can be totally engulfed."
This year’s weather could play a role in grain bin dangers. A similar challenging year in 2010 led to the last spike in grain entrapment, said Dave Newcomb, ag rescue program manager with the Illinois Fire Service Institute.
“With the late harvest, there is a good probability the grain is going to go into the bins a lot wetter than it normally would,” Newcomb said.
He added that seven out of every 10 grain bin entrapments happen on family farms rather than at commercial storage facilities.
Illinois has already had two entrapment cases in the past few weeks. The Illinois Department of Labor said the incidents happened near Marshall and Effingham. Neither were fatal.