Suffocating or being buried alive in grain silos are a serious concern for farm owners and workers across the United States. Without proper safety harnesses and effective safety protocols, silo suffocation accidents can happen quickly and unexpectedly. Silo accidents have remained consistently high for decades, where dozens are killed every year when working in or around grain bins and silos on farms and ranches.
The worldwide demand for grain has become overwhelming in the last few decades. The grain is used as livestock feed, food for human consumption, and even fuel to power automobiles. However, silos of every shape and size pose significant dangers to farm workers. These bins are loaded with all types of grains, soybeans, wheat and corn. The danger has become so significant that the Labor Department has implemented new rules prohibiting children 17 years or younger from working in commercial silos and grain bins in an effort to keep them safe and out of harm’s way.
Individuals can suffocate to death in a grain bin or silo when engulfed in grain while working or playing. The most common grain injuries and death occur by entrapment of sorghum, cottonseed, livestock feed and yellow corn. Usually, the worker becomes entrapped when loosening frozen or spoiled grain. When the auger is running, it can easily cause the worker to become engulfed and eventually die by suffocation.
In other scenarios, grain storage bin workers walk on top of a grain “bridge” that become hardened, believing it can hold their weight. When the grain gives way, it causes the worker to fall and become engulfed.
Silo Suffocations: A Preventable Accident
Nearly every kind of silo suffocation accident is preventable. Injuries and deaths can be avoided when the workers and supervisors follow basic training and use effective safety equipment. By following proper work practices and OSHA regulations on grain handling, farmhands can avoid the risk of death by potential grain avalanche or other cause of suffocation in the bin or silo. These preventable safety measures would include:
- Never enter grain bins during auger operation
- Receive adequate training and effective lockout procedures
- Learn how to safely enter a silo or grain bin
- Only install augers that have been designed and manufactured with safety in mind
Determining Fault in the Aftermath of Silo Suffocation
When a silo accident involving suffocation or engulfment occurs, every party at fault needs to be held accountable for the injuries or death. Depending on facts involved in the case, any worker injured in the accident or family members of the deceased victim killed by silo suffocation has the legal right to file a products liability, personal injury or workers compensation claim to receive benefits or recompense.
However, determining fault can be challenging. Because of that, many surviving family members and injured victims will hire a personal injury attorney who specializes in silo suffocation accidents.
When any type of farm accident occurs, it is essential to conduct a proper investigation to determine which parties are at fault to be held accountable for the injuries or death. Often times, it can be determined that the equipment was not properly maintained, chemicals were not properly stored, or safeguards were either never installed or removed. Other times, it is found that no adequate training was provided, the equipment was defective or negligence by others directly or indirectly caused the accident. Hiring an attorney can help simplify the process and help families obtain financial compensation.
Hiring an Lawyer Who Knows the Dangers of Grain Handling
If you have lost a loved one in a silo suffocation accident, it is essential to contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. We can begin investigating the agricultural accident and start the process of filing a claim or lawsuit against all parties at fault for your loved one’s death.
We can build a solid case for financial recompense to ensure you have adequate funds to cover your hospitalization costs, medical bills and any other damages including funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium and companionship along with the value of future potential earnings lost by the death.
Call our law offices at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your free, initial consultation. We provide legal advice and can evaluate your claim to offer numerous options on how to pursue maximum recompense to cover the financial losses of your injuries or losing your loved one.