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Georgia residents who work in or near grain storage should be aware of the risk of suffocation. This applies to storage facilities in both commercial and on-farm grain operations. The most important factor in safety for anyone who works around stored grain is training.

The National Grain and Feed Association, the American Feed Industry Association, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched a new campaign to help bring awareness to suffocation dangers and to prevent the deadly incidents from occurring. From April 9 to 13, the organizations participated in Stand-Up for Grain Engulfment Prevention Awareness Week in order to enhance prevent fatalities, enhance worker protection and lower the number injuries that occur as a result of grain engulfment incidences.

The primary reason grain engulfment occurs is out-of-condition grain. Engulfment can take place due to bridging, avalanching or unloading.

Based on a fact sheet that was issued by OSHA pertaining to grain storage bins, when grain is flowing, it can be likened to quicksand and can completely engulf a person within seconds. If a person is still in the bin when the unloading auger is started, they will have three seconds at the most to respond. They can become trapped after an additional 5 seconds and completely engulfed within 22 seconds.

Bridged grain, or grain that is clumped together to form a cavity underneath, is another hazardous situation. If the bridged grain begins to fill the empty area, anyone in the bin can become immediately trapped and suffocated.

Workers who are injured because of insufficient workplace safety precautions and training may consult with a personal injury attorney about their legal options. The attorney may strive to protect the rights and interests of injured workers in workers compensation disputes or third-party liability suits.