Risks of Agricultural Confined Space Injuries and Death

by | Jul 29, 2023 | Industrial Accident, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

The alarming increase in agricultural confined space-related injuries and fatalities, as highlighted in the 2022 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities report from Purdue University, serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing dangers individuals who work in this sector face.  Notably, Ohio and Pennsylvania were among the states recording the highest incidences. If you, or a loved one, have been affected by such an incident, it’s crucial to understand that legal help is available.

Grain-related entrapments, often from entering a bin or structure to break loose clumped, spoiled grain, accounted for nearly half of these reported incidents, marking a distressing 45% increase from the previous year. Beyond grain entrapments, accidents have also arisen from handling facilities for livestock waste, entanglements inside confined spaces falls from structures, and grain dust explosions or fires. All too often, these accidents have had devastating outcomes.

One significant incident—a grain plant explosion in Iowa injuring 15 people—played a considerable part in last year’s increase in cases. However, even excluding this event, the overall incidence rate surpassed the 5-year and 10-year averages. The regrettable reality is that many incidents likely go unreported.

The report also analyzed the importance of training for emergency response:

The topic of appropriate training needed for emergency personnel responding to confined space incidents found in agriculture has been addressed by various stakeholders. However, there remains a concern that there is a greater need to focus attention on prevention versus emergency response. There is actually little conclusive evidence indicating that current emergency management training is reducing the frequency or severity of injuries associated with agricultural confined spaces. Ongoing surveillance of the media for these incidents continues to identify a high frequency of related training activities taking place for local emergency first responders. This training is occurring across the U.S., even in areas where the probability of grain-related or agricultural waste-related entrapments are extremely low, or historically non-existent. The primary focus of the training, as reported by the media, has been to address strategies to rescue victims from partial entrapment utilizing coffer dams or grain rescue tubes, and high angle rescue techniques. In many cases, the training appears to be a response to a single local incident, which may have been the only such incident ever documented in the service area. Millions of dollars continue to be spent on these trainings and acquisition of specialized equipment, even in light of the fact that only about 30-35 such incidents occur annually in the entire U.S., and historically over 50% have involved a victim recovery rather than a rescue.

These alarming trends underscore the importance of awareness and action. If you or someone you know has suffered from agricultural confined space-related accidents, you don’t have to navigate the aftermath alone. You may be entitled to compensation, and our team is here to help you understand your legal options.

Those touched by an agricultural accident should know their legal rights and remedies, and act quickly to preserve them. Our attorneys have extensive experience in cases involving personal injury and wrongful death, including those confined space accidents. The firm has experience in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or as a result of an explosion, or been seriously injured.

The experienced attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident. Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.