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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200823730 - Employee Suffocates In Grain Bin Accident

Accident: 200823730 -- Report ID: 0521400 -- Event Date: 03/07/2008
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31124840503/07/20085153Utica Elevator Company
A grain elevator superintendent and a truck driver, both employees of a grain elevator company, were loading a truck with soybeans from a 7,600-kiloliter capacity steel bin that was 18 meters high and 23 meters in diameter. The superintendent ascended the outside ladder and descended the inside ladder of the bin. He then stood on the beans, trying to unclog the open front floor hole with a garden hoe. The truck driver, who was in radio contact with the superintendent, stayed outside the bin. The truck driver told the worker in the bin that they needed to stop the loading operation and take care of another customer at another building for 10 to 15 minutes. The driver shut off the unload conveyor. When he returned to the bin, he told the superintendent that they needed to run the unload conveyor for about 3 more minutes to fill the truck, which had a capacity of approximately 29 kiloliters. When the truck was filled, the driver turned off the unload conveyor and told the superintendent to exit the bin. The superintendent said it would be easier to exit the bottom side door of the bin, but the driver advised the superintendent that there was too much product in front of the door to exit there. Because he did not want to climb the ladders, and despite a second warning, the superintendent insisted on leaving by the side door. As the truck driver started to leave to deliver his load, he heard the superintendent call for help on the radio. The driver summoned emergency medical services and found the superintendent totally engulfed by soybeans. The coroner pronounced the superintendent dead of asphyxia at the scene. There was an estimated 1,200 kiloliters of soybeans in the bin at the time of the accident. The employer's written safety and health program prohibited entry into bins from above the level of the grain without a body harness, with life line or boatswain's chair, an attendant, and suitable rescue equipment. It was company policy never to enter a grain bin from the top. The superintendent had 30 years of experience in the grain handling industry.
Keywords: asphyxiated, grain, work rules, clogged, buried, grain bin
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 311248405 Fatality Asphyxia Supervisors; handlers,equip-cleaners,laborers nec

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