Rosengren Law Office, LLC

Fatal workplace injuries: Grain bin deaths are preventable

Grain bin deaths are preventable, and yet they continue to occur. To create awareness of potential risks of being overwhelmed by grain, the week of Feb.17 through Feb. 23 will be the Grain Bin Safety Week of 2019 in 14 states, one of which is Minnesota. Researchers say significant numbers of grain engulfment incidents occur every year, and 2010 was the worst year, with at least 26 fatalities in grain bins.

Safety authorities say farm workers enter grain bins to remove rotting or clumped grain without turning off machinery, and they do not realize that engulfment happens in the blink of an eye. Authorities aim to encourage safe procedures for entering grain bins and monitoring grain bins for the presence of toxic gases. Maintaining a high quality of grain and ensuring no entry without adequate safety equipment form part of the campaign.

According to the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the primary cause of grain bin fatalities involves engulfment that causes suffocation. The agency also says that oxygen deficiency and flowing grain can cause death within seconds. NECAS provide safety training that includes simulated grain engulfment with the aid of state-of-the-art equipment.

Victims of workplace injuries or accidents in grain bins or the surviving family members of deceased victims might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Many choose to secure the services of an experienced Minnesota workers' compensation attorney to handle the navigation of benefits claims on their behalves. Injured victims could receive compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages, and benefits for families who have lost loved ones typically cover end-of-life expenses and wage replacement.

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