Five Workers Trapped in North Carolina Grain Silo

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration plans to investigate a farm after five workers were trapped in corn silos for almost five hours.


Our Greensboro worker’s compensation lawyers know these tragedies are avoidable when the proper safety precautions are taken. Tragically, however, they continue to claim far too many lives.

According to an article on, five workers were trapped inside a corn silo for nearly five hours.

The workers fell into a silo that contained about 30,000 bushels of grain but has the capacity to hold as much as 125,000 bushels.

The rescue workers initially hoped they could simply reach in and pull the workers out but it became complicated by the fact that grain was pressing against each worker and keeping them trapped.

It took 50 rescue workers to prevent the pressure of 30,000 bushels of grain from suffocating the trapped workers. In order to remove the pressure, rescuers had to place large tubes around each worker and then lower the grain level.

Rescuers had to walk over the grain on plywood and screens to prevent from getting trapped. Fortunately, the trapped workers were given water and oxygen as they needed it.

The rescue process was described as similar to poking a hole in a water bottle and letting the water run out except on a much larger scale.

The farm had been cited for violations by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration in 2010. The report listed “hazard communication” as the violation. This involves maintaining hazard communication in the workplace and conducting employee information and training sessions.

A deadly accident occurred at the same address in 1994.

Workplace safety is very important and it is the employer’s responsibility to reduce hazards. lists 10 safety tips to keep workers safe:

• Design safe work areas: a workplace may include vehicles, equipment, conveyors, furniture, and work benches. The way a work area is organized can be a critical part of keeping workers safe and ensuring a productive environment.
• Keep work areas clean: A work area that is clean is a safe work area. Clean environments can reduce many hazards and increase productivity among workers.
• Employees should be involved in safety planning: Employees should feel ownership of the safety process because this is often a source of motivation to maintain a safe work environment.
• Work instructions should be clear: Thorough training and written instructions make sure each worker knows the procedures. Also, each employee should be required to read the safety program.
• Focus on the most likely problems and look for safe solutions: It is important to prepare a safety plan for major concerns but an employer should be careful to eliminate the small violations that contribute to injuries on a frequent basis.
• Employers should study the way employees perform their job: Employees may take shortcuts that reduce safety but employers should also look out for employees who have created a safer alternative to the standard method of operation.
• Machinery should be kept in good condition: The employer is responsible for all machinery. Machinery should be subject to routine maintenance.
• Avoid unnecessary hazards: Employers should conduct a routine inspection of the work environment to locate hazards.
• Revise safety plan annually: Each year should begin with an inspection of the workplace and a review of the safety program in use.

Contact our Carolina worker’s compensation attorneys today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blogs:

Fatal Transportation injuries are Primary Cause of Workplace Fatalities, North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Blog, October 1, 2013.

Marine in Georgetown South Carolina Cited for OSHA Violations, North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Blog, October 10, 2013

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