The risk farmers face when they enter large grain bins cannot be overstated. Within seconds, flowing grain can bury a worker who enters the bin to remove clumped or rotting grain while machinery is still running, according to insurance and financial services company Nationwide.
To help reduce and prevent these all-too-common accidents, Nationwide announced that it has launched its sixth annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in recognition of Grain Bin Safety Week. The goal is to prevent injuries by promoting safe bin entry procedures, such as maintaining quality grain, testing the bin atmosphere for toxic gases and wearing proper safety equipment.
This year, Grain Bin Safety Week is Feb. 17-23 and has been officially recognized by the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Since 2014, Nationwide has awarded grain bin rescue tubes and training to 77 fire departments in 24 states. Nominations for the fire department contest are open until April 30.
"The work that farmers do can often be dangerous," said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, the leading farm insurer. "Along with our partners in Grain Bin Safety Week, we're dedicated to helping first responders save lives on farms across the country. That's why we will continue to make the rescue tubes and training available as long as these dangers exist."
According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported, with a fatality rate of 62% in the past 50 years. In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfment accidents -- the highest number on record.
Facts about injuries and fatalities
Suffocation from engulfment is a leading cause of death in grain bin accidents. It takes only seconds to be completely engulfed in flowing grain or overcome by oxygen-deficient atmospheres, the announcement said.
In 2015, 24 documented grain entrapments resulted in 14 deaths (58% fatality rate). In 2014, 38 documented grain entrapments resulted in 18 deaths -- the highest recorded since 2010.
To help prevent further deaths and injuries, Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety to provide safety training. The director of the center travels to training locations with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator and rescue tube. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and a rescue simulation with the entrapment tool, which is loaded onto a 20 ft. trailer and can hold about 100 bu. of grain.
Grain Bin Safety Week and the Nominate Your Fire Department Contents are supported by Nationwide and the following partners:
- National Education Center for Agricultural Safety
- KC Supply
- Lutz Agency Inc.
- Nationwide Land As Your Legacy
- Specialty Risk Insurance
- KFSA Insurance Agency
- Grosskreutz Crop Insurance Agency
- Donner-Farber & Associates
- David Larson Financial & Insurance Services Inc.
- Agri-Business Insurance Services
- The Scoular Co.
- First Gabrielson Insurance Agency
- Stuber Insurance Agency
- Sump Saver
- Cornerstone Insurance Services
For more information about the program, purpose or nomination process, visit www.grainbinsafetyweek.com.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products, including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public- and private-sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess and surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance.