It only takes 20 seconds for an adult to be buried alive in flowing grain. As farmers continue to see record harvests, the chance of life-threatening accidents increases.

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With record harvests, more extensive storage facilities, and faster equipment, grain is more mobile than ever before. While this helps with efficiency on the farm, it also can create more dangers on the farm.

From 2018 to 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that grain entrapments rose 27 percent. At the same time, deaths related to entrapments rose 53 percent.

Photo by Gabriel Meinert on Unsplash
Photo by Gabriel Meinert on Unsplash

To free a person from a grain bin, it takes a force equivalent to the person's body weight plus 600 pounds.

This isn’t the only danger that is on the rise with growing harvests.

In 2022, there was an increase in grain bin dust explosions from previous years. There were 9 incidents in 2022, compared to seven in 2021. The 10-year average is 7.8 explosions annually.

One of the explosions in 2022 occurred in Iowa, while others were in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio. Grain dust explosions happen when five conditions are met; dust, dispersed dust, confined space, and oxygen.

Fortunately, none of these incidents resulted in death.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting accounted for 20 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers in 2021.

In 2021, the leading cause of death among farmers and farm workers was transportation incidents. This includes tractor overturns and roadway crashes. The CDC reports that other causes of death in farmers include contact with objects and equipment, violence by other people or animals, and falls, slips, and trips.

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