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You Can Drown in a Grain Bin in Less Than a Minute

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:00pm
Tom Bielema
The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois uses a dummy inside a training grain bin at the Asmark Institute, in Bloomington, Ill., to demonstrate to farmers how quickly someone can be completely engulfed in grain.
The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois uses a dummy inside a training grain bin at the Asmark Institute, in Bloomington, Ill., to demonstrate to farmers how quickly someone can be completely engulfed in grain. It is also used by rescuers to practice lifesaving extraction techniques. (Photo: U.S. Dept. of Labor)

It can happen to you.

Five seconds. That is how quickly a worker can become engulfed in flowing grain and be unable to get out.

Sixty seconds. That is how quickly a worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain. More than half of all grain engulfments result in death by suffocation.

With the agricultural season still in full swing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting a record-breaking corn crop in 2013. In the heartland, that is great news for the farming industry — but it also underlines the unique hazards facing workers in the grain handling industry, especially in the storage of grain.

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