They are ubiquitous in small towns and farms across much of Illinois. Grain bins come in many sizes, but no matter what size, they all pose a grave potential risk to any worker who becomes trapped inside, sucked under by the ever shifting nature of the grain.

A recent training event in Illinois, the death of two teens who died five years ago in the Town of Mount Carroll was remembered by another young man who was trapped with them, but escaped. He remembered the look of terror on their faces as they went under, and he noted that, “No 20-year-old should have to live with that.”

Of course, no one, no firefighter, coworker or emergency first responder should have to live with that. And no one should die in a workplace accident involving a grain bin. Sadly, Illinois has been high on the list of states where this type of workplace accident occurs.

Engulfments are frightening and deadly. In 2013, 13 workers died and in 2014, there were 17 deaths. Anyone working around a bin should follow basic safety guidelines. The danger is great enough that workers should never be sent into a bin except when absolutely necessary.

To keep workers safe, it is essential that they have proper training for working around grain bins. They also need adequate safety equipment and a strong commitment to ensure that the equipment is used correctly, every time.

In addition, emergency response teams in the area need regular training to maintain their skills should the need arise.

Illinoisfarmertoday.com, “Grain bin safety a concern as farmers ready for harvest,” Phyllis Coulter, August 16, 2015