- Why Working In a Grain Elevator Is One of the Most Dangerous Jobs in the US
- April 27, 2017
If you go to work every day in the state of Kansas, the odds that you’ll come home injured – or not at all – are multiplied if you work on a farm that grows grain or field beans. It may sound odd, but working at a grain elevator (a building used to store or process grain and beans), is one dangerous occupation.
Over the course of the past three decades, 680 workers in Kansas have lost their lives on the job, and nearly one in 10 of those died working at a grain elevator. That data comes from statistics provided by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Of the workers in those “elevator” deaths, 48 died doing what OSHA classifies as “grain and field bean” work.
According to the report, it’s the fact that grain elevators are an amalgam of electrical contacts, gears and chains and belts that makes them such dangerous structures for workers.
But it’s the dust, as well as many tons of grain moving daily, that combine to make grain elevators workplaces where even the slightest mistake can result in multiple deaths. According to OSHA, 21 of the workers cited in the study were buried under grain, five were crushed by equipment, five died in falls and three were electrocuted.
One spectacular bit of mayhem involves dust explosions or injuries where workers can be asphyxiated or blown to bits.
In May of last year, officials in Plymouth County, Iowa, responded to a massive explosion and fire at a grain elevator in the town of Hinton, and they quickly received a flood of 911 calls about the blast. By the time the local fire chief could reach the scene, the elevator’s control house entirely engulfed in flames. The explosion shattered windows and doors were blown out of the building. Two employees working inside at the time were injured, and their fellow workers pulled them from beneath piles of rubble before they were rushed to a hospital in Sioux City.
It all goes to show that, though a particular line of work may seem harmless, it can nonetheless be important to ensure that workers carry a proper amount of life insurance to provide for loved ones in the event of an accident.
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