Research/studies Agriculture, forestry and fishing

2022 saw 24 deaths in ag-related confined space incidents: report


Photo: ghornephoto/iStockphoto

West Lafayette, IN — At least 83 incidents involving confined spaces in the agriculture industry were documented last year – up 41%, according to an annual report recently released by Purdue University.

Of the cases, 29% were fatal (24) – below the historical average of 59%. In 2021, 23 of the 59 documented cases were fatal.

Overall, 41 of last year’s cases involved livestock waste handling facilities, entanglements inside confined spaces, falls from confined space structures, and grain dust explosions or fires.

In addition, 42 of the cases involved grain-related entrapments – a 44.8% spike and the highest total in more a decade. Grain entrapments are the most common type of agricultural confined space incident, a Purdue press release states.

Researchers note that many entrapments involve a person entering a bin or structure to attempt to break up clumped or spoiled grain.

Agriculture workers and employers can use online resources, such as Purdue’s Gearing Up for safety website, to ensure they’re following safe procedures. 

“We strongly encourage farmers and agribusiness employers to recognize the hazards presented by confined spaces such as grain bins, silos and manure storage facilities, and use best management practices and effective training programs to keep their families and employees safe,” Edward Sheldon, a research associate at Purdue, said in the release.

The university’s agricultural and biological engineering department has investigated and documented incidents involving grain storage and handling facilities since the 1970s.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)