Summary of U.S. Injuries and Fatalities Involving Entrapment and Suffocation in Grain Transport Vehicles

This article summarizes U.S. injuries and fatalities involving entrapment and suffocation in grain transport vehicles. The authors used the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program database that includes information on documented injuries and fatalities in all forms of U.S. agricultural confined spaces. The database currently contains 1,968 cases documented in the U.S. between 1964 and 2016. Of these cases, 174 (8.8%) involved entrapment or suffocation in grain transport vehicles (GTVs), including gravity-flow wagons, semi-truck trailers, and other agricultural transport vehicles. Of the incidents documented, 64.3% resulted in fatalities and 71.8% involved children and youth age 20 years and under. The number of documented cases decreased sharply from a peak of approximately 7 cases per year in the early 1990s to an average of 3.1 cases per year over the past two decades, with no cases documented in 1998 and 2013. The authors review the overall linear increase in the frequency of incidents, attributing at least some of the increase to better surveillance methods as online search capabilities have evolved. They hypothesize that the recent decline in cases may be due to increased awareness of the hazards, particularly to youth, of transport in GTVs, as well as the increased use of warnings on GTVs. They conclude with recommendations for future strategies, including development of a safety standard that includes placement of safety messages, use of windows above outlets, retrofitting older GTVs with appropriate warnings, and providing safety education resources targeting all workers exposed to grain handling and transport.


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  • Accession Number: 01723069
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 10 2019 3:54PM