The Lyon Firm is investigating farm accidents that involve grain vacuum injury, grain bin entrapment and grain collapses. Our attorneys are well-versed in settling high-value agriculture injury cases for plaintiffs nationwide.
In the last 20 years, almost 180 people — including teenagers — have died in grain entrapment accidents at federally regulated facilities. The farms and employers responsible were fined just over $9 million, though regulators later reduced the penalties in many cases.
Dozens of grain bin entrapment accidents occur annually and many result in a fatality. The primary cause of grain entrapment occurs during loading, unloading and storage when a worker enters a bin or silo while equipment is running. Frozen, spoiled or unstable grain is a major factor in grain bin entrapment accidents.
Electrical and mechanical hazards are also a concern, as are malfunctioning augers, dryers, stirrers and other farm equipment. Falls have also resulted in grain bin injuries and deaths.
Grain Bin Entrapment
Grain entrapment, also known as grain engulfment, occurs when a worker becomes submerged in grain. Engulfment accidents frequently occur in grain bins, silos, grain elevators, or freestanding piles of grain. Unstable grain may collapse suddenly, burying workers and may quickly suffocate or crush them.
Grain bins are designed to store low moisture grains while high moisture grains are stored in tall silos which present their own safety hazards. Some of the same hazards that are seen in grain bins are also present in grain storage silos.
For example, high moisture grain will have the same flowing grain hazard as low moisture grain. The following information relating to grain bins can also be applied to silos used to store grain. Grain entrapment risks may include:
Flowing grain entrapment
Grain bridge collapse
Grain wall collapse
Grain vacuum accident
Flowing Grain Accident
An auger can be used to move grain from the bottom of a bin into a vehicle or storage container. When the auger is running, grain flows out and creates a funnel with the grain flowing in a column below the surface. In a large amount of grain and powerful auger, a worker can be pulled down into the contents quickly and suffocated.
Grain Bridge Collapse
A grain bridge can be a dangerous entrapment hazard. Poorly maintained grain can harden into a mass and create cavities or grain pockets. The cavity below a grain mass it is commonly referred to as a “grain bridge” and can give way while trying to break the crust.
Grain wall avalanches are a similar hazard. When workers break a hardened mass of grain, a wall of grain can completely engulf them.
Grain Vacuum Accidents
Grain vacuums are used to move grain for various reasons. A large, powerful grain vacuum can move thousands of pounds of grain per hour. The machinery, if not operated properly, can cause serious injury or death. Workers have been sucked into grain bins and engulfed. Grain vacuum and entrapment accidents occur almost exclusively when grain is being moved.
Grain Entrapment Prevention
It takes mere seconds to become completely engulfed in a grain bin in some circumstances. Once a farm worker becomes entrapped, it takes much a great amount of force to remove them. Some basic safety guidelines include:
Do not work alone around grain bins or associated machinery.
Ensure the auger power is off, locked and tagged so that no one else starts the auger while you are inside a bin.
Use a lockout and tag out system.
Wear a full body harness attached to an anchor point outside the bin.
The easiest way to prevent a grain entrapment is to not enter a a grain storage area.
Store grain properly so hands-on maintenance is not necessary.
Properly train your workers on the hazards and safety measures in place.
Place entrapment warning decals on grain bins and grain transport vehicles.
Train employees and vacuum operators about the hazards in working with spoiled grain.
Equip workers with a safety harness and other fall protection equipment.
Lyon Firm Settlements
(Clermont County, Ohio): The Lyon Firm filed and settled a case involving a failure to design and operate a safe construction site, as well as a failure to train operators in the use of excavation equipment. Joseph Lyon represented the flagger who suffered a catastrophic leg amputation when the operator of the excavating equipment inadvertently struck him from behind causing him to be dragged under the equipment. The settlement assisted our client in future medical care and recovery of lost wages.
Industrial accident injuries are usually permanent and should be addressed by an industrial accident lawyer qualified in complex personal injury matters.
Serious injuries and accidents often result through no fault of the injured party, yet the injured victim suffers from life altering physical, mental and financial losses. Such economic and human losses can have devastating financial consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through personal injury lawsuits.
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ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
NO COST UNLESS WE WIN
The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.
Farm Injury Cases
Each year, farm accidents generate millions in settlements and verdicts for victims. Product liability issues cannot be discounted. In many past incidents, farm equipment has been found to be inherently flawed. If machinery is found to have a faulty design or missing safety components, victims and their attorneys can file suit against large industrial manufacturers.
Dust explosions, for example, have occurred due a variety of reasons that included faulty valves, poorly maintained valves, and improper valve pressure.
Legal Options in Grain Bin Injury Cases
The legal options will depend on what caused the grain bin accident and injury. If the negligent party was the employer of the worker, the worker may be limited to workers compensation, which usually is not sufficient compensation.
The limited recovery in workers compensation claims, is what it is critical to evaluate all potentially liable parties at the workplace and all potential product liability claims that may have contributed to the injury.