Grain Bin Explosion Lawyer
Grain bin explosions are often the deadliest farm accidents, severely injuring and killing farm workers every year. Many deaths are caused by accumulated grain bin dust particles exploding from an ignition source or suffocation caused by entrapment or involvement.
Are you severely injured in a farm accident, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another’s negligence? The Illinois personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure that your family receives the financial compensation they deserve for their damages.
Contact our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free case consultation if you or a loved one have been injured in a grain bin accident. All information you share with your personal injury lawyer will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
National Safety Council statistics reveal that farming continues to be among the most dangerous jobs in America. Hundreds of farm workers and ranches have died in work-related accidents in recent decades, and hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers have been temporarily and permanently disabled in grain elevator accidents and bin explosions.
Working in or around a grain bin can be a hazardous work environment. Each year, many people suffer from life-altering injuries or die in silos and grain elevators.
Because of that, many farms and ranches have taken precautionary measures in an effort to minimize the dangerous conditions that cause an explosion.
How Explosions Involving Grain Bins Occur
An explosion in a grain bin usually starts by an ignition source that could be sparked by a cigarette or farm equipment, igniting grain dust or particles. The ignition causes a pressure wave to detonate the remaining floating particles inside the silo or grain bin.
Because of this incredible hazard, many farmworkers are required to follow specific protocols, proper warnings, and necessary ventilation to minimize the potential of detonation. Unfortunately, grain bin explosion victims still suffer serious injuries.
Some of these injuries occurring in grain silos, include:
- Shrapnel injury when hit by flying metal objects
- Hearing loss
- Serious burns
- Traumatic brain injury and concussions
- Damaged organs
- Severe lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
Farm and ranch employees suffering minor or severe injuries in grain bin explosion accidents have the legal right to seek compensation from any party at fault for causing the accident.
Who Is at Fault for the Accident?
Nearly every type of grain bin explosion is tragic with catastrophic results. Sadly, many of the explosions could have been prevented had the owner followed specific safety procedures.
When the neglectful action of others causes grain elevator explosions, victims have legal rights to sue or file a compensation claim or lawsuit. However, determining liability is challenging.
A skilled personal injury attorney will often look for signs of negligence that could include:
- Was the grain bin properly ventilated?
- Did the owner and farm workers follow proper loading procedures?
- Were there proper warning signs to prevent a grain elevator or silo accident?
- Were there safety equipment on hand and implemented safety procedures to minimize the potential of an explosion?
- Were all workers trained properly on how to avoid a grain bin explosion?
- Was the grain bin or silo designed or manufactured with a defect?
- Were there any violations of federal standards on managing and using farm equipment and silos?
Injured victims and surviving family members of loved ones lost from an explosion involving a bin or elevator can seek compensation to ensure they have adequate funds to recover all damages.
These include past, current, and future medical bills, exemplary damages, economic damages, loss of benefits, loss of earning capacity, workers compensation, rehabilitation, vocational retraining, medical costs associated with healing, funeral & burial costs along with non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Recent Accidents: Grain Elevators
Adrian, Missouri, January 2021 – The Bates County Sheriff’s Department reported a grain bin explosion that seriously injured a West Central Agri Services employee. Emergency medical technicians transferred the injured worker to the local hospital after suffering injuries in an explosion occurring in a storage bin.
Jefferson, Iowa, May 2020 – The Green County Sheriff’s Department reported a fire and explosion at a Landus Cooperative grain elevator northwest of Des Moines. The neighboring community surrounding the co-op was experiencing a strong thunderstorm. In 1974 an explosion at the same co-op resulted in fatalities. Fortunately, no injuries associated with the recent explosion or smoldering fire were reported.
Royal, Iowa, August 2020 – Local law enforcement initiated evacuation orders involving neighboring homes after an Ag Partners elevator exploded in Royal, Iowa, shooting fireballs into the air. Fortunately, the blast did not result in severe injuries or fatalities. Local first responders helped extinguish the fire.
Hiring A Law Firm to Represents Your Interests– Never Those of a Company
The tort law involving farm accidents is complex and likely involves paid benefits through the workers’ compensation program during their healing and recovery. Specific steps must be taken to obtain the maximum amount of benefits and compensation available to successfully resolve a grain bin explosion case.
However, hiring a personal injury attorney who specializes in grain bin explosion cases can make the process simple. A skilled attorney can assist the victim in obtaining case information, medical records, police reports, photographs and legal documents related to the claim.
In addition, the law firm can track down eyewitnesses to provide testimony should the personal injury case go to trial.
A skilled grain bin explosion attorney can guide the injured worker through every legal process and minimize any potential disruption while they heal. A reputable law firm will hire expert witnesses to provide testimony or use their experience to assist the lawyers in building a solid case for an out-of-court settlement.
In addition, the grain bin explosion lawyer can ensure that all the injured employees' necessary paperwork is filed in a timely manner before the expiration of the state’s statute of limitations concerning the case.
Common Injuries in Grain Bin Explosions
Grain storage and handling operations pose significant deadly hazards to farmworkers when engulfed and suffocated inside the bin. Most fatalities are the result of exposure to dangerous atmospheres, auger entanglement, and combustible explosions.
Others are severely injured when falling from elevators and moving equipment. Purdue University recently released their National Grain Entrapment Database revealing that nearly 500 cases of suffocation were reported over the last five decades.
Approximately 20% of all fatalities involved teens and about 70% of the fatal accidents occurred in medium- and small-sized farms. Grain bin explosion victims reportedly had severe injuries that include:
- Amputation (dismemberment)
- Contusions and concussions
- Cuts and bruises
- Fractures and broken bones
- Severe burns from fires
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Explosion Injury Prevention Tips
Every employer is required to conduct a job safety analysis, identifying specific dangers and hazards. The information they acquire through the analysis can help them develop and implement an emergency preparedness plan to ensure worker safety. Common injury tips include:
- Never allow farmworkers to enter the bin while the consumable material is loaded or unloaded
- Never allow farmworkers to walk or stand on the grain to ensure it is flowing
- Ensure that farmworkers have a power sweep equipment or mechanical raking device that allows more effortless movement of material through the bin
- Ensure that the farmworkers have the equipment necessary to break up the crusty or clumping surface from outside the bin
- Post warning signs of the dangers of being in a confined space at every bin entrance
- Require every worker to use a boatswain’s chair, lifeline, or body harness when entering the bin
- Ensure that a lifeline is positioned correctly to prevent farmworkers from sinking further than waist-deep in the consumable material
- Implement entry procedures and require a permit required by state law every time a worker enters a storage vessel or been
- Ensure that continuous ventilation is removing combustible dust and creating a safe atmospheric environment
- Test the oxygen content inside the bin and look for any presence of a hazardous gas before allowing employees and farmhands to enter
- Ensure that farmworkers have when systems and other rescue equipment to make extracting a worker from the bin efficient and quick
- Ensure that a properly trained observer with the necessary equipment is stationed outside the bin when farmworkers are inside to perform a rescue operation if required
- Make sure that all farmworkers entering the bin have a way to communicate with the observer through a signal line, voice, or visual contact to prevent accidents with injuries and fatalities
- Prevent workers from entering the bins and other storage vessels during any loading or unloading procedure to avoid a bin explosion or fires
- Ensure that all pneumatic, hydraulic, electrical, and mechanical equipment is tagged out, locked out, disconnected, and de-energized when not in use
- Ensure that all conveyors, augers, and equipment moving parts are adequately guarded when operating
- Ensure that all farmworkers have appropriate fall protection/fall arrest devices when working at any elevation on a silo or ladder
- Ensure that all workers are thoroughly trained on personal protective equipment and ladder safety to minimize fall hazards and prevent catastrophic suffocation, fires, and explosion accidents and injuries
Farm Accidents FAQs
Our law firm understands that many families have unanswered questions about handling grain bin explosions and hold those responsible financially accountable for their injuries and damages. A bin explosion attorney has answered some of those questions below.
For additional information, contact the grain bin explosion lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to discuss your legal options for receiving financial compensation recovery for your injuries.
Why do farmers use grain silos and bins?
Bin and silo structures are fabricated with vented corrugated steel to store dry foods like oats, shelled corn, soybeans, barley, wheat, and other consumable products used for human and animal consumption. Some grain is used in the production of fuel.
Narrow, tall bins are referred to as silos that store silage (harvested fodder) like green grass or shopped corn to feed livestock. A well-engineered silo or bin will have an easy access construction that can handle heavy equipment and snow loads.
Why do grain silos explode?
Loading and emptying a bin generate dry dust particles that fill the interior. The explosion usually occurs by sparks caused by friction, rubbing pulleys, static electricity, or hot work (welding, soldering, etc.).
A simple ignition source can create a significant explosion with a high-intensity pressure wave of metal, and other components that could cause a severe shrapnel injury. These accidents occur in head houses, baghouses, hammer bills, bucket elevators, and other grain handling and processing systems.
Are grain bins explosive?
In 1987, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) implemented the Grain Handling Facilities Standard, reducing catastrophic particle dust explosions by over 40% in the first year alone. The new standards help reduce bin explosions and fire by minimizing emitting dust particles and controlling grain dryer fires when accidents occur in tanks and bins.
Unfortunately, grain dust explosions remain a constant problem when dust from wheat and corn combusts when ignited by fire from overheated bearings or welding sparks. A Purdue University study revealed over 100 explosions reported between 2005 and 2017, where nearly 70% of the horrific blasts had no identified fuel source or ignition source.
Why do farmworkers go into grain bins?
Farmworkers are often required to enter their bin to disrupt clogs and clumps to ensure that the grain flows freely when loaded or unloaded. Unfortunately, entering and working inside a bin or silo is extremely dangerous due to the potential risk of suffocation or entrapment when engulfed by the grain.
Some farmworkers have died or suffered severe injuries when walking over the grain when it moves or settles, much like quicksand. The significant risk of potential death heightens significantly when operating machinery, like augers and vacuums, quickly moves the grain, making it more likely for farmworkers to be pulled down through the grain and suffocate.
What do farmers do if they fall in a grain bin?
Farmworkers are trained to turn off all equipment when entering a silo or bin to minimize the potential of being engulfed or suffocated by the dust or grain. Studies show that a foot of grain generates 300 pounds of pressure, making it extremely challenging to pull a leg or foot out without assistance if caught or engulfed.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has received over 900 reports of grain involvement at a death rate of 62% during the last five decades. High-speed augers moving grain at nearly a hundred bushels per minute take less than five seconds to trap or engulf an average-sized farmworker and approximately 25 seconds for victims to be fully engulfed.
Scheduling an Appointment
The Illinois personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC fight aggressively on behalf of our clients. Our law offices offer a no-charge initial consultation to discuss the case and provide legal options to pursue financial compensation from every party responsible for causing the accident.
In addition, an explosion injury lawyer will investigate the case to look for any additional third parties that might also be at fault for the accident. Our attorneys could include filing a claim or lawsuit against farm equipment manufacturers or installers.
Call an Illinois grain bin explosion attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Our personal injury law firm accepts farm accident cases, including grain bin explosion claims on a contingency fee basis meaning you will pay no fees until we resolve your case through a negotiated settlement or jury verdict.
Our law offices currently follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 (coronavirus pandemic) social distancing guidelines to protect our clients.