Anyone in Pennsylvania who works in or around a grain storage facility should know that grain engulfment is a safety risk. Flowing grain can trap workers in 6 to 8 seconds, completely burying them in a matter of 22 seconds. In the effort to prevent suffocation in grain, OSHA has teamed up with the National Grain and Feed Association, the American Feed Industry Association and other organizations to raise awareness of this danger.
Grain engulfment can occur in one of three ways: It could surround workers during unloading, trap workers in the space created by bridging or come down in an avalanche when piled up in one area. Preventing these requires intervention outside of the facility. OSHA, for its part, has long had safety measures in place, but these only pertain to commercial facilities, not farms.
The association recommends all owners of grain storage facilities to train their employees on the dangers. Employees should never be encouraged to rush as safety is always more important than increasing productivity. They should turn off all equipment, especially grain-moving equipment, before entering the facility. OSHA requires that lockout-tagout procedures be followed with such equipment. Workers cannot walk on grain to make it flow, and they should never be without a body harness and lifeline.
Neglecting these workplace safety guidelines only increases the risk for fatalities. When worker dies, their families or other dependents might speak with a lawyer about filing for workers compensation or preparing a wrongful death suit. Workers compensation benefits may cover burial expenses and pay out a percentage of what the decedent’s yearly income was. A lawyer may help file the paperwork and gather all the necessary proof, mounting an appeal if the claim is turned down.