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Farm Accidents Down 34% in 2015

Good news regarding farm accidents: In 2015, the U.S. saw fewer grain bin entrapments and incidents than it has seen in a decade. 

In 2014, a whopping 71 confined-space incidents were confirmed, but in 2015 only 47 were reported. That’s a 34% decrease and the fewest confined-space accidents reported since 2006 when there were 46 documented. The number of actual deaths fell from 31 in 2014 to only 25 in 2015.

Since it’s not mandatory to report confined-space incidents, it is important to note that many farmers and farm employees do not report nonfatal incidents. Many remain wary of insurance rate hikes and work delays.

“Based on prior research through media sources and public safety records, it is estimated that the documented annual cases of agricultural confined-space injuries or fatalities represent only about 70% of the total incidents that have occurred in the Corn Belt,” said Bill Field, agricultural safety and health professor at Purdue University.

Iowa took first place in grain entrapment accidents with seven reported during the year. Next up was Nebraska with four incidents, then North Carolina and Ohio with two each. Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Connecticut all reported one case of entrapment.

As a reminder, grain entrapments have consistently been the most common type of confined-space incident. These incidents typically occur when a farmer or farm worker enters a bin or silo to break up grain clumps and is engulfed when the grain breaks loose, said Field. 

Besides grain entrapments, there were also entanglements in machinery, falls, asphyxiation/poisoning, drownings, and incidents involving being pinned or struck by heavy objects listed in the report. 

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