We have discussed on prior occasion the tragic deaths of two Illinois teens that were killed when they were working in a grain storage bin. Illinois and four other states have the highest density of occurrences of grain storage deaths and injuries. There are guidelines outlined by OSHA regarding safety around grain storage bins. However, much like when the two Illinois teens died, these regulations are often disregarded. The employer of the teens was fined $268,000 by OSHA following the workers’ deaths.
Following these and other fatal workplace accidents of the same nature, safety is being reevaluated around grain storage bins in Illinois. A University of Illinois professor of agricultural and biological engineering is also an extension safety specialist and taking part of a team working to engineer a harness that would be relatively inexpensive to use and greatly increase the safety of workers that are required to enter these bins.
Unfortunately, to save costs and time, many employers will overlook safety. The University of Illinois professor offers a few other safety measures for workers to always be mindful of in an effort to protect themselves:
- Always make sure another worker is aware you are in the bin and standing guard over the opening
- Always make sure augers are off and a note is posted informing other workers that you are in the bin
- Always make sure that fans are turned on while in the bin to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes
While there are measures in place to provided for the recovery of medical expenses and lost wages in the event that a worker is injured on the job in Illinois, safety should be a constant area of focus so that there are fewer occasions in which an injured Illinois worker would need to recover.
Source: Agriculture.com, “Get a Leg Up on Safety Bin,” Cheryl Tevis, Feb. 28, 2013