While it may seem morbidly comical to be engulfed by hundreds of pounds of grain, it actually does happen in real life and can cause injuries and death. The state of Illinois is well-aware of this and is taking an active role in the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s campaign to focus on grain bin safety.
Illinois, together with five other states, aims to reduce grain bin injuries and death by emphasizing safety measures and precautions. OSHA relates that it would only take a worker five seconds to be engulfed in flowing grain and be unable to escape. Fifty-five more seconds and a worker can be fully submerged. And due to the weight of the grain and its behavior, death by suffocation is imminent. Other grain bin dangers include electrocution, falls and auger entanglement.
OSHA has partnered with the Illinois Grain Handling Safety Coalition and the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois in providing decals with precautionary reminders. Among the essential safety reminders included are locking out moving equipment, protection of floor coverings and an atmosphere check for possible fumigants.
The partnership is welcome news for workers as it may help avert Cook County and Chicago work-related deaths. But worker-related deaths are not only limited to granaries. Negligence in work sites can cause construction accidents, the same goes for under-maintained workplaces with dangerous tools. Companies are mandated by law to always have a high standard of safety and to provide workers with necessary safety equipment and training, as well as contingency measures in case of a workplace accident.
Inability to live up to legal standards can be construed as negligence and companies can be liable if a worker loses a life because of the company’s neglect. The immediate family of the victim may be able to receive compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship and other pertinent financial damages. Compensation can be recovered if the survivor chooses to pursue a wrongful death suit against the negligent party.
Source: Safety.blr.com “OSHA, Midwestern states focus on grain bin safety,” Emily Clark, June 27, 2013